Coach Larry Coker's feeling about today's second practice, "I think we took a step today, we got a long way to go. We got to really to work on tempo and the speed of the game." The players did not look to be tired from the morning practice. The defense provided good competition for the offense playing very hard and finishing their tackles.
Kyle Wright was the only quarterback to lead his unit in for a touchdown during the scrimmage at the end of practice. He has been making good decisions in the past few practices and by enrolling early he gained valuable experience in the spring. Wright through a long pass to an open Darnell Jenkins in the corner of the end zone to end the practice. Brock Berlin got other players involved today utilizing Kevin Everett and his running backs. Marc Guillon has been picking up on the offense very well and has looked a lot more comfortable in the pocket than he did early in the week. Derrick Crudup worked hard today making good decisions when he decided to take off and run. Crudup is throwing the ball well and is developing into a good leader with the second unit.
Jarrett Payton had a good practice picking up nice yards and picking up his blocking assignments. Payton had a good first week of practice drawing praise from Coach Coker. Kyle Cobia took a big hit in the middle of the field after making another good reception. He looks fully healed from his injury keeping him out the majority of last season. Cobia does a nice job of taking on the linebackers when he makes a catch. Frank Gore was bottled up a bit today and did not break any long gains like he had in the past. Gore got hit pretty good by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork but because Gore is a physical back, he bounced right back up. Two-a-day practices should help Gore's endurance and get him in game shape.
Ryan Moore was back practicing in the afternoon after missing the morning practice. Moore once again showed off his ability to adjust to passes as they are coming to him. He has shown good speed after making the catch, which is encouraging for the young receiver. Kevin Beard sat out during the afternoon practice as expected. He participated in the morning session but Coach Coker did not want to overwork the senior from Plantation who is recovering from knee surgery. Darnell Jenkins had another good practice and capped off the practice with a nice touchdown catch from Kyle Wright. Jenkins has been improving his route technique and has been getting off the line very quick. He has dropped quite a few passes, which is a bit discouraging, but getting open has been a huge positive. Coach Coker thinks Jenkins is a playmaker and should help the freshman get playing time. On the contrast, Akieem Jolla has not made very many catches during practice this week hurting his cause on getting playing time this year. Jolla does not adjust effectively to long passes and rarely gets open in short patterns.
The tight ends were utilized a lot in today's practice. Kevin Everett had a nice grab on the sideline and held on to the ball as the defender hit him. Buck Ortega caught a long pass as he split the safeties in the middle of the field. Kellen Winslow had an interesting day today. He made his usual nice catches, but he attempted a few passes during a quarterback accuracy drill. Winslow also tried on Sean Taylor's helmet featuring an Oakley visor. Don't expect Winslow to get the flashy visor worn by safeties Sean Taylor and Maurice Sikes.
The offensive line had another good practice. They are really coming together as a unit and the rotation with six guys is still continuing with the first unit. Carlos Joseph and Eric Winston look to be battling for the left tackle position with the rest of the positions not rotating as much. The interior linemen have had their hands full trying to contain defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Going against that kind of talent will help them develop as quality linemen. The second unit of LT Rashad Butler, LG Alex Pou, C Anthony Wollschlager, RG Robert Bergman and RT Tony Tella, have been getting quality reps during practice and Offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe has been helping them with their development.
Bryan Pata was rewarded with his good practices and has been working with the second-team replacing Javon Nanton at left defensive end. He still had a good practice but his effectiveness has dropped a little since going up against a better offensive line. On the second-team, he is going up against RT Tony Tella. Vince Wilfork had a good practice putting a lot of pressure on the running game. Santonio Thomas is a nice complement to Wilfork on the first unit and has been clogging up the holes along with Wilfork. John Square and Larry Anderson missed practice again due to injuries.
Roger McIntosh had another good practice. He has been looking extremely athletic filling the holes and getting to the outside with strength on his tackling. Jonathan Vilma looked good once again dropping back into pass coverage. Pass coverage for a linebacker is an often-overlooked testament to their ability. Glenn Cook made a nice stick on a receiver drawing hollers from the sideline of his defensive peers. Tavares Gooden has been learning more each day and should be a good player for the Hurricanes in the future.
Not only has this unit made plays this week, they have been very encouraging with one another. Safeties Maurice Sikes and Sean Taylor have showed support for the younger defensive backs. Jon Beason made a nice hit on a receiver to make sure they were not going to make the catch. Sikes and Taylor were right there cheering him on as he made the play. Antrel Rolle and Alfonso Marshall were seen today offering advice to freshman Terrell Walden. Teaching the younger players is often an overlooked quality of a team. That has been very noticeable with this unit along with the rest of the team so far during the first week of practice.
Mark Gent and Jon Peattie went through live kicking situations. Both Peattie and Gent made a variety of kicks and looked comfortable with the live defense on the field. Gent had a stronger leg during their field goal attempts, but Peattie struck the ball hard as well. John Rochford worked out with long snappers Curtis Justus and Chris Harvey today. Rochford struggled with high snaps today. Vince Wilfork was used as the center during the field goal attempts. Darnell Jenkins and Devin Hester dropped a lot of balls today during punting exercises. Terrell Walden had a tough time reading balls out of the air while Roscoe Parrish very rarely made a mistake.
Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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