Practice Report: August 17th

The Hurricanes enjoyed having only one practice after their first two-a-day yesterday. The offense had a productive day breaking off big runs and coming down with long receptions.

HEAD COACH LARRY COKER

Practice was moved up 45 minutes beginning at 2:45 p.m. and lasted until 5:00 p.m.

"The intensity was good," Coker said. "Guys practiced pretty hard today and all in all it was a good day for our football team. We got better today. I was very encouraged with Brian Monroe and the way he is punting the ball. He is doing a excellent job and that is very encouraging—we certainly need to see that."

WEATHER REPORT

Temperature: 87°F
Humidity: 67%
Heat Index: 97°F
Wind: 9 mph
Cloud Cover: Mostly Cloudy

QUARTERBACKS

Derrick Crudup has been impressive the last few days of practice drawing praise from the head coach. He has always been known as a scrambler with great arm strength and lately he has shown an improvement in accuracy and decision-making.

Today he made two great throws while working on red-zone offense. He found Greg Olsen 20 yards downfield for a touchdown over the middle showing great touch and just enough height on his throw where the defense could not get it.

"I feel real good out there," Crudup said. "I am just working hard and battling every day. I feel real good about my performance."

Immediately after the throw to Olsen, Crudup came back with a nice sideline pass to Darnell Jenkins. Later in the day he found Akieem Jolla for big-time yards. Confidence is clearly evolving in his game and it will be interesting to watch the rest of the week. The offense looked better today especially better than yesterday.

"As a whole we rallied around each other today," Crudup said. "The offense looked really sharp today. Coach Werner is teaching us his offensive philosophy and it is starting to sink in with everyone."

Brock Berlin found Ryan Moore in the end zone on a busted coverage about 10 yards out.

Kyle Wright made a fabulous pass to Olsen on a deep route. It was one of the few times Wright had enough time to throw.

RUNNING BACKS

Frank Gore made two strong cuts up the middle en route to a large gain and going relatively untouched to the end zone. He has shown good speed this fall and other than a little bit of soreness his knee is holding up. Granted he has yet to take a big hit, but since you can only evaluate on what he has done—so far, so good.

"It was good to see Frank Gore practicing well," said Coker.

Charlie Jones has shown good balance throughout fall practices, along with solid speed, and today was no different. He has shown the ability to stay on his feet after getting touched on the line and keep his legs going forward to pick up more yards—even breaking big runs.

Tyrone Moss practiced today and had a very nice run through the defense. His shoulder appears to still be bothersome and it looks like only time will make it go away.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Akieem Jolla has very good speed and is improving his ability to come down with the deep ball. Judging the ball in the air while maintaining top speed can be tough for inexperienced players. Today Jolla made some very good catches including a deep ball along the sideline.

"It is good getting some reps and producing," Jolla said. "That is what we are here for. We are supposed to produce and catch the ball. I am getting my feel and my swagger back."

The wide receivers have a year under the belt and have shown the ability to make plays. Now they just need to be consistent.

"We are going to be an excellent unit," Jolla said. "We still have a lot of improvement to do, but we are coming along and gelling together. Either this year or next year we are going to be one of the elite groups in the nation."

They are a close group with similar personalities and enjoy seeing each other succeed.

"The most encouraging thing with the group is that everyone is pushing each other to make plays," Jolla said. "Everybody is close with each other and that is an inspiration to want to play with these guys. Everyone just wants to be on the field and make plays."

Sinorice Moss had his second straight solid practice coming down with a deep pass along the sideline drawing applause from the fans in attendance. His knee is feeling good and he has been happy with his performance. He is another player to watch in the next few days.

Ryan Moore and Roscoe Parrish both practiced sparingly dealing with injuries.

TIGHT ENDS

Greg Olsen--can't say enough about his progress. It seems like every day the New Jersey native is making a play. More importantly, a big play. Today he beat linebacker Leon Williams on a deep ball thrown by Kyle Wright. He also scored another touchdown on a 20-yard pass over the middle from Derrick Crudup.

He has terrific size, good speed, solid hands, and is improving on his blocking. One of the things most encouraging from the young player is his ability to hold onto the ball and get up field after a catch. He knows where he is on the field and is aware of the defensive personnel.

Buck Ortega is still making plays.

"He has had a good off-season," Coker said. "He had a really good spring and now a good fall. We just have to make sure he is hydrated—he is one that tends to lose a lot of fluid in practices. We need to make sure he is healthy and keep his weight up."

"We have three guys in the mix and we like all three of them," said Coker.

Kevin Everett practiced today after dealing with a hip flexor the past few days.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Today's First Unit: LT Winston LG Morse/Tella C Rodriguez RG Myers RT Wimbs

"We have a long ways to go," said offensive line coach Art Kehoe. "We have improved from where we were in the spring. Guys have worked their butts off and lost some weight and are in better shape. I think we have more position competition and a deeper line."

Tony Tella has been dealing with a knee injury and Rashad Butler reportedly has a sprained ankle.

"Right now guys are starting to feel a little sorry for themselves right now," Kehoe said. "They are getting a little beat up. We have a few injuries and that is just part of two-a-days. I just know that we are getting better."

Going up against a top-notch defense in practice helps with the improvement of the line, but also can be tough to judge their progress.

"Our defense has been good and it doesn't show that much in our improvement," Kehoe said. "But I see us making plays and getting incrementally better. We are going to need every part of it to beat Florida State."

Brandon Sebald is adjusting very well at right tackle after switching from tight end.

"He has a ways to go, but he is a great kid from a great family," Kehoe said. "He is athletic, strong, tough as nails, willing to learn, and asks questions. He is going to be an excellent player—it is just a matter of time. It would have been nice if we would have had him last spring, but we got him and I am glad we got him. He was willing to do it and it shows what kind of team player he is. He is going to be terrific."

Sebald is currently 6-foot-6 and 260-265 pounds.

"I am not even worried about his weight," Kehoe said. "He is all worried about his weight. He is 265 pounds and that is plenty big. He is going to get after you and he is tough. We need him."

Derrick Morse is still doing well especially when he is expected to pull. He is a big guy that has really improved his playing shape and could be a valuable player for the Hurricanes this season. His biggest strength is his aggressiveness—something Kehoe likes in a player.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Orien Harris is ready for the season to start and excited to take his game to the next level. He will be counted on heavily at the left tackle position for pass rush and stopping the run.

"It has been hard this fall," Harris said. "Our defense is looking real good. We are a special group and everyone works hard. You can get left behind if you aren't working hard. I feel like I don't have my swagger back, but it is coming."

Right now Kareem Brown is the third tackle behind Harris and Santonio Thomas. Last year when he was expected to produce he came up with some very nice tackles.

"Kareem has gotten in a lot of work in the fall," Coke said. "He is working hard on his conditioning. He is going to play a lot this year."

One thing you like when you watch Javon Nanton is his motor. Going up against Eric Winston every day in practice can be a daunting task, but he never quits or shows his frustration. He just gets back up and works hard the very next play. It might seem like it is a given for players to work hard, but it doesn't always happen. Luckily Nanton is one of those players. Throw in some talent and you have yourself a very nice football player.

LINEBACKERS

This group has guys that can tackle. They are strong, fast, and very athletic. They move well to the outside, but also bounce off of blocks to hunt down running backs. Although they are not tackling like they would in games, you can see the improvement in each player's ability to tackle.

Jon Beason is one guy that continues to impress. His instincts are starting to take over and he is reacting on the field as opposed to struggling to know where he is supposed to be. Since he was moved to linebacker in the spring there were times he would be out of position. Now, he looks extremely confident in his decisions and ability. As a linebacker he has very good ball skills.

Willie Williams arrived to practice late because of an "academic appointment" according to Coker.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The team is looking for a fourth safety behind Greg Threat, Brandon Meriweather, and Willie Cooper. There has not been a determination yet.

"It depends on what scheme we are in," Coker said. "We are trying to get a look at everybody including Devin Hester. I think we are going to be pretty good back there, but there is no determination yet."

Marcus Maxey has spent the majority of his career at safety after moving to cornerback late in the spring this year.

"Marcus can always go back to safety and he would probably be the first guy to move back," said Coker.

Anthony Reddick has been the guy opposite of Cooper on the second unit.

"Anthony has gotten a lot of work," Coker said. "I think he will be awfully good. Exactly when—I'm not sure. Hopefully sooner rather than later. We really like him."

Carlos Armour, Rashaun Jones, George Timmons, and Lovon Ponder are the other freshmen trying to find a spot in the secondary.

"I like those guys to play corner, because if they can play corner then they can play safety," Coker said. "Definitely I want to give them an opportunity to play corner for us."

INJURY REPORT

WR Roscoe Parrish participated in some drills such as ones that did not require a lot of stop-and-go movements to protect him from his sore knee. He will continued to be held out occasionally throughout fall practices.
Status: Day-to-day

WR Ryan Moore practiced some today dealing with a sore hamstring according to Coker.
Status: Day-to-day

OL Rashad Butler reportedly sprained his left ankle on Thursday and has not practiced the last five days. He is in a full cast with crutches as opposed to a walking boot he had been in previous days.
Status: Unknown

CB Terrell Walden is not participating in fall practices due to a torn ACL he suffered during the spring. It is unlikely he will play this season.
Status: Out two to five months

NEXT PRACTICE

Wednesday, August 18th, 8:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m. – They are open to the public.

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

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