Practice Report - Day Three

Rain rain, go away, glad you stayed away today. The sun was shining and there were no signs of rain at all, unlike the first two days of practice. "It was nice and warm. This is what we needed," says Coach Larry Coker. Today was the first day that the players have been in pads and the intensity was definitely there.

Coach Larry Coker's assessment on today's practice, "The defense played hard today. They made plays a lot of plays. Offensively, we need to get a lot tougher up front on the offensive line. The defensive line is getting too much penetration. Our guys are really helped by playing against high competition in practice especially going up against Kellen Winslow and Frank Gore."

Quarterbacks

Today the quarterbacks as a unit made some nice plays but they struggled as well. Overall, it was an average today for these guys. Brock Berlin made some good long passes especially one to Kevin Beard. According to Coach Coker, "Brock Berlin throws the deep ball better than anyone I have ever been around." Derrick Crudup has shown good velocity on his passes but his accuracy needs to improve. He is still working hard in case Berlin falters as the starting quarterback. Guillon and Wright both got a lot of reps during one-on-one drills with a defensive back and a receiver. The receivers made various routes and both made good throws throughout the drill along with some bad tosses.

Running Backs

Hurricane fans should be glad the defense is going up against Frank Gore in practice and not during games. Gore looked very fluid today on a running back formation drill without a defense, which carried over to a live situation when the defense came on the field. Gore made two really nice runs up the middle making various cut moves to the inside. He maintains his speed very well on his moves, which makes him tough to follow. Jarrett Payton and Tyrone Moss did not have the type of success they had yesterday, but neither had bad days. However, Payton does struggle at times reading the hole. Talib Humphrey was once again held out of practice due to a strained Achilles.

Wide Receivers

The receivers made some nice catches today. Kevin Beard is looking very impressive going up against the top corners. Beard who is recovering from knee surgery which held him out the final part of the season last year looks like he will be ready for the season. "I am really pleased with him and his progress. His leadership is needed on this team but more importantly, we need him to make plays which he is doing," Coker says. Roscoe Parrish is very quick and gets his hands in the right position to make catches even on poorly thrown passes. Jason Geathers and Ryan Moore both put on the pads today but Geathers stayed on the sideline while Moore's time on the field was very limited. Akieem Jolla had some good battles with cornerback Antrel Rolle during the one-on-one drills today. When Rolle tried to bump him at the line, Jolla was able to free himself and get separation from Rolle making a couple nice catches. Darnell Jenkins played some on the second unit with Jolla. Sinorice Moss looked good today running past the corner and getting an opportunity to catch the deep ball. Devin Hester showed Hurricane fans why he was considered the top player in Florida during the 2001 season. Hester ran his routes with such precision and quickness burning one of the fastest players on the team, Travarous Bain.

Tight Ends

Kellen Winslow had the pads on today along with his game face. His intensity on the practice field has been agitating some of the defensive backs. This competition helps the defensive backs tremendously as they are forced to compete in trying to hold him down. Winslow has been a viable option for the quarterback when the receivers are unable to get separation. Kevin Everett and Buck Ortega both had nice practices, but Ortega did not enjoy the success he had in yesterday's practice.

Offensive Line

This is an area that Coach Larry Coker would like to see an improvement. Since today was the first day in pads it was a lot easier to analyze where the offensive line and defensive line stand. Today the first team was as follows: LT Carlos Joseph; LG Chris Myers; C Joel Rodriguez; RG Joe McGrath; and RT Vernon Carey. Eric Winston rotated in at left tackle for Joseph and Myers and Rodriguez swapped positions. Offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe had the guys working a lot on their footwork and technique. The second team featured: LT Rashad Butler; LG Alex Pou; C Anthony Wollschlager; RG Robert Bergman; and RT Tony Tella.

Defensive Line

The defensive line continues to be in tact with: LDE Baraka Atkins; LDT Santonio Thomas; RDT Vince Wilfork; RDE Thomas Carroll. They have been looking pretty good on rushing the passer and putting pressure on the running backs. Wilfork continues to lead this unit and while there have been question marks with this unit, so far they have been up to the task. The second unit consists of: LDE Javon Nanton; LDT Orien Harris; RDT Kareem Brown; and RDE Alton Wright. John Square is still recovering from shoulder surgery and has not practiced. Larry Anderson also sat out today's practice due to injury.

Linebackers

Yesterday it was middle linebacker Leon Williams with a nice interception, today it was starting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma with an interception. Vilma looked to be in zone and dropped back to cover a receiver, at the last second his instincts took over as he turned towards the ball making the interception. Weakside linebacker D.J. Williams looks to be ready to go as he flattened Kevin Beard over the middle even though the ball was not in Beard's direction. Leon Williams, Darrell McClover and Jarrell Weaver once again were on the second unit. Glenn Cook, Carl Walker and Tavares Gooden round out the linebacker depth chart.

Secondary

One of the most interesting battles of fall practices is who will start opposite of Antrel Rolle at cornerback, Kelly Jennings or Alfonso Marshall. Kelly Jennings started the majority of the games last year with a cast on his arm nonetheless. Coach Coker had this to say about the battle, "It is going to come down to who makes plays. It was really impressive what Jennings did last year with a cast on." Marshall is a senior now and looks like he is ready to take on the role as a starting cornerback. Antrel Rolle had a hard time jamming Akieem Jolla today in drills but his coverage skills are tremendous. Terrell Walden showed good closing speed today during the one-on-drills. Walden looked like he was beat, but closed in on the pass breaking up one and intercepting another. Travarous Bain had a tough day today getting beat by Devin Hester in the drills but did look better during the offense/defense scrimmage. Glenn Sharpe who would be the dime corner has been out all week due to an injury. Sharpe was in pads today, but did not participate in practice. His return is unknown. Greg Threat left today's practice on a cart due to a leg injury, his status is unknown.

Special Teams

Brian Monroe punted the ball well today with some pressure and performed well. While Mark Gent should be the starting kicker, but nothing has been named yet. The leader of the specialists is long snapper senior Chris Harvey. The West Virginia native left practice early due to injury but his status is unknown. Roscoe Parrish, Devin Hester, Antrel Rolle and Terrell Walden all practiced again today returning punts.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

Canes Time Top Stories