Practice Report - Day Four

Practice began about an hour earlier today to avoid the rain. The players were back on the field in pads and the intensity was at an even better level than yesterday. Players are instructed to hold up on the tackling but that does not mean they just ran around playing touch football today. There were some good hits and some nice plays in today's practice.

Head coach Larry Coker was happy about today's practice; "It was a good day today. On offense we had a really good day. I really like the way Ryan Moore stepped up today. Brock Berlin through the ball much, much better today. The offensive line made positive strides today. The secondary was making plays, making interceptions, making good breaks on the ball and having a lot of fun playing defense."

Quarterbacks

Brock Berlin did have a better day than yesterday. His throws were more accurate and the timing of his passes was better. Berlin has been utilizing his running backs out of the backfield especially his fullbacks. Derrick Crudup struggled with his timing today. Crudup made a nice pass after going through his progressions to Akieem Jolla only to have it dropped. His deep passes were underthrown. Marc Guillon has improved each day and hit Darnell Jenkins with a deep pass. Kyle Wright looked more comfortable in the pocket when given the opportunity. Wright had a very good deep throw to Ryan Moore over the top of the defense.

Running Backs

Fullbacks Quadtrine Hill and Kyle Cobia have been utilized a lot as viable options out of the backfield. Both have shown the ability to make the catch and make plays upfield. Hill showed good speed on a run as he bounced outside for a long gain. Frank Gore was his typical self today breaking loose for big runs. The defense was getting good pressure on the quarterbacks and they were stopping the run on successive plays. But right when it looked like the offense couldn't do anything, Frank Gore took the handoff and exploded through the hole making a few cuts to the endzone practically untouched. Tyrone Moss had a nice run to the outside showing off his speed. According to Coach Coker, "Jarrett Payton has had the best four days of practice since I've been here."

Wide Receivers

Roscoe Parrish had another good day making receptions on various routes during the one-on-drills. He used his quickness catching passes against Kelly Jennings and his speed against Sean Taylor. Parrish has been dealing with leg cramps this week but it is nothing serious and looks completely healthy during the plays. Ryan Moore had a very good day today after missing yesterday's practice nursing his groin injury from last year. The 6-3 receiver has been utilized a lot on flats and makes good turns upfield after making the catch. Kevin Beard had another good day and Coach Coker is very encouraged by his progress after tearing his ACL last season. Jason Geathers was out once again with a strained groin. He had pads on and did play catch on the sidelines for a majority of practice working on his catching technique. Sinorice Moss was out today as he turned his ankle, his return is unknown.

Tight Ends

Kellen Winslow did not make as much noise today as he has in the past few practices. He still made some catches and is picking up his block assignments very well. Kevin Everett has been used in some two-tight end sets with Winslow. Everett needs to find a way to be more productive on the field. He has been ineffective as a receiver the past couple of days after having being utilized earlier in the week.

Offensive Line

The line had a good day today. They progressed nicely throughout practice and were able to free up holes for the running backs. The big runs today came mostly on the right side of the line. Vernon Carey has spent a lot of time as the team's starting right tackle. Carlos Joseph has also played some right tackle with the first team as well. It is imperative for this unit to continue to improve each practice. The young offensive line has been taking in a lot of information from Coach Art Kehoe and they need to use that information on the field. As of now it looks like four starters could be named today with the last battle being for left tackle with either Carlos Joseph or Eric Winston holding down that position. Since Brock Berlin is right-handed, the left tackle is responsible for protecting Berlin's backside.

Defensive Line

Vince Wilfork and his boys were at it again. The defensive line unit were stuffing the run game and getting to the quarterback during pass plays. Santonio Thomas has shown good strength in the middle especially when Wilfork is being double-teamed. Baraka Atkins and Thomas Carroll have shown good speed on the outside. The second and third units have been getting good penetration at times as well. Larry Anderson and John Square were out today again with injuries.

Linebackers

Coach Larry Coker expects great things from this linebacking unit. Roger McIntosh, the lone underclassmen of the trio, showed good speed on the outside covering a lot of field. He was in constant pursuit of screen passes not allowing a lot of yards after the catch by the running backs. Leon Williams, who has the best hair on the team, has been leading the second unit in the middle with seniors Darrell McClover and Jarrell Weaver on the outsides. With four seniors in the top six linebackers, it is important for a third-teamer to step up this year and gain valuable experience for next season. Both Travares Gooden and Glenn Cook have made nice plays in practice.

Secondary

These guys are fast and they are making plays all over the field, from senior Maurice Sikes to freshman Willie Cooper. All of these guys have been working extremely hard and should record more interceptions this season. A year under the belts has helped them gain valuable experience especially against top-notch competition. Jon Beason made a nice one-handed grab during an interception drill and later picked off a pass during the scrimmage. Maurice Sikes hammered Quadtrine Hill after Brock Berlin through a fluttering pass to Hill. Sikes also picked off a Brock Berlin pass. Terrell Walden continued to have a good practice as he broke up a pass and contained his man during the one-on-one drill. Antrel Rolle showed again today why he is one of the best shutdown corners in the country. He uses good footwork and speed to stay with his guy. Glenn Sharpe did not practice once again and Greg Threat sat practice out as well. Threat pulled his hamstring in yesterday's practice and was carted off the field.

Special Teams

Chris Harvey was back practicing as the team's long snapper showing that his injury yesterday was nothing to worry about. Brian Monroe has showed a lot of promise as the team's punter. Coach Coker would like to see Jon Peattie, Mark Gent and Brian Monroe establish themselves as kicking specialists such as a guy to take kickoffs, a guy to kick extra points, and a guy to get long field goals. The kicking duties could take some time to establish especially since both are inexperienced. Coker would like to have the kicker established by August 21st, one week prior to the first game.

Tomorrow the Hurricanes will have media day from 10 a.m. to noon before returning to the practice field at 3:30.

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

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