Spring Practice Report - 3/23/04

The Hurricanes began spring practices today at Greentree Practice Fields. It was a cool afternoon with a light sprinkle. The players enjoyed being back on the field despite not being in full pads. We have updates on a variety of players and positions along with player quotes and some jersey number changes.

Linebacker Jon Beason

"Just making the transition, it's a lot to think about it. I made some plays out there. Switching to middle linebacker is going to be a challenge. I think it's a good thing. I put pressure on myself not to make mentals and a lot of playing middle linebacker is mental. I'm not afraid of it. Everything happens so fast today compared to seven-on-sevens. During seven-on-sevens we hear the play so we get time to think about it before it happens. Today at practice the tempo was real good."

Wide Receiver Devin Hester

"It went pretty good today, everybody was catching the ball real well. The quarterbacks did well also. My ankle felt pretty good and it was just good to get back on the field. Coach CJ was relaxed today, but still was still telling us things throughout practice. It was good being back out there."

Offensive Lineman Joel Rodriguez

"It went better than I thought it would. I had a pretty good day considering it was the first day. It felt pretty good. At first I was a little tentative, but after the first few plays I was fine. I was surprised how well it went. On the third play Orien Harris fell on it, but it felt good. It felt great today. The offensive line had some mental breakdowns today because of small adjustments. For a first day, it went real well. On offense we jumped offside a few times, ran a few bad routes, but for the first day that is expected, for the first week actually."

Notes:

* Brock Berlin, Derrick Crudup, Kyle Wright, and Kirby Freeman all threw the ball well during individual drills, but they struggled at times during receiver route drills. They all looked good with their velocity throughout practice.

* Kirby Freeman is a thin, athletic quarterback who showed good footwork during his first Hurricane practice. He has done well throughout seven-on-sevens, but has not created the stir amongst his teammates like Wright did a year ago.

* Tony Tella had a real good day today with the first team at left guard. Tella has a solid frame at 6-5 300 with a wide body and could develop into a solid guard after being a tackle for the majority of his career at Miami. He worked real hard in the off-season with his weight training and running. Tella is a bit of a sleeper for the left guard position since he has played tackle in the past.

* Alex Pou did well on the second unit today. Pou is another candidate for the left guard position along with Derrick Morse, Andrew Bain, and Tyler McMeans.

* Javon Nanton has put on 20 pounds and is currently 6-3 240. Nanton did well today getting in on the tackle and disrupting the quarterback. Nanton led the team in sacks last year with eight and is looking to get more snaps instead of being in only on pass-rushing situations.

* Talib Humphrey put his Achilles strain injury behind him and took some snaps at tailback today. Humphrey has always been a solid runner with good vision despite limited game carries at fullback. His only knock has been his inability to stay healthy. If he can stay healthy this year he could be a formidable force out of the backfield.

* Some recent Hurricane players took a break from the weight room and showed up for practice to see how their former teammates were doing. Some of the players in attendance: Kellen Winslow, Kevin Beard, Alfonso Marshall, Carl Walker, Jason Geathers, Maurice Sikes, Chris Harvey, and Joe McGrath.

New Numbers

Kirby Freeman – 12
Frank Gore – 3
Dave Howell – 69
Tyler McMeans – 68
Eric Moncur – 94
Greg Olsen – 82
Jonathan St. Pierre – 62

Next Practice: Wednesday, March 24, 3:00 Greentree Practice Fields

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