HEAD COACH LARRY COKER
The team held their third two-a-day practice with a couple of two-hour practices.
"Today was a good day for us," Coker said. "Guys had a lot of fun today. They are tired and a little leg weary. With the alternate two-a-days we should be ready to go tomorrow afternoon. Today we got better in a lot of areas. We really got better in the passing game. However, we are not where we want to be with the receivers and with Berlin, but we are getting better. I think the offense has shown a lot of confidence."
Heat Index: 86°F
Wind: 5 mph
Cloud Cover: Mostly Cloudy
Heat Index: 93°F
Wind: 8 mph
Cloud Cover: Cloudy
Brock Berlin is doing a nice job of not panicking in the pocket and finding the open receiver on short routes. Wide receiver drags and tight end outs have been very common targets for Berlin throughout fall practices and today was not any different. The coaches would prefer it if he would use the mid-range pass to the receivers more, but hopefully that will come in the next two weeks.
Kyle Wright has been a guy utilizing the deep ball and not necessarily the deep fly routes, but the 15-yard outs. Wright had a nice timing play with fellow scout team member Akieem Jolla along the sideline. He has also shown the ability to improvise by rolling to his left or right to make a pass giving more time for his receivers to get open. Today he made a very good throw rolling to his right before getting his feet set and throwing a dart in the middle of the field.
Derrick Crudup made some good throws today before he ended practice early with an ice bag on his shoulder. He was in good spirits after practice so it doesn't appear to be a serious injury.
Both Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss are getting their yards in practice. Gore is showing burst of speed in the middle and Moss has improved on his pass protection—very good signs.
The freshmen are continuing to learn each day of what it will take to be a productive player this year. It is clear to see that they all have talent and now it is a matter of maturing and learning the offense.
Throughout practices players get to know other players that play other positions. In one of the more intriguing pairings of the fall senior fullback Kyle Cobia had a friendly chat with soft-spoken freshman receiver Lance Leggett. It wasn't clear as to what they were chatting about, but they both had their fair share of laughs throughout the conversation.
Roscoe Parrish was practicing today after being guarded the last few days. When he gets in there after a few days off he always looks a few steps faster than his peers.
"He has been rested some so he is more active," Coker said. "He has his legs under him and he has great quickness. He had a nice day today."
Lance Leggett caught a number of drag routes across the middle and headed up field utilizing his speed and agility. He is a thin receiver, but is not afraid to take a hit. He will be in the mix at receiver this season.
Offensive coordinator Dan Werner commented on the play of Leggett.
"Lance has stood out because when you bring a freshman in you think ‘he doesn't have a chance'—especially at that position because they never see those coverages," Werner said. "He has actually done very well. He is still behind the other guys. It is not like he better than the older guys, but he is going to be a good player. There is no doubt about it."
Kevin Everett continues to miss practice and Greg Olsen continues to take advantage. Everett, the senior, was supposed to be the guy, but Olsen is putting a lot of pressure on him this fall after being arguably the top offensive player throughout fall practices.
"Greg is a freshman, but he plays like he is an NFL rookie," Coker said. "He is smart and he's tough. We felt like Greg was the best tight end in America when he came out of high school, and we were very disappointed when we didn't sign him. To get him back has been a tremendous addition for us. We have had some standout players this fall, but without question, he is one of the best."
Buck Ortega had a very nice day today making some catches and excelling in blocking. Most of the time he is in the right spot and giving extreme effort. He will be a valuable asset to the team this year.
LT: Winston LG: Morse C: Rodriguez RG: Myers RT: Tella
Chris Myers got a lot of work in at right tackle today moving Tony Tella to right guard. Whether or not this combination sticks is unknown at this time. Myers did a fairly good job on the outside for not having a lot of experience there. He is more comfortable at the guard position, but because of his versatility he can play both. Vernon Carey anyone?
With the shuffling around on the first unit Andrew Bain has moved from left tackle to left guard. His abilities are more suited for the guard position because of his athleticism and size.
Derrick Morse has receiver the most reps at left guard with the first unit.
"He has done a good job," Coker said. "I have been very pleased with Derrick Morse. He is making more progress than I expected this early."
Jonathan St. Pierre is now being used as a right tackle as opposed to a right guard and struggled today with the switch.
Bryan Pata made two strong, fast moves on the outside recording a sack on back-to-back plays. He is a lot farther along than his second-team counterparts.
The freshmen: Calais Campbell, Chris Zellner, Dwayne Hendricks, Eric Moncur, and Rhyan Anderson have been working hard, but all of them are likely to redshirt this season.
Leon Williams is in a tough battle with Jon Beason at the starting middle linebacker spot.
"I feel good," Williams said. "I have been playing the position for a while now and there isn't much I haven't seen yet. I am just going out there and having fun."
So far he has been impressed with the defense.
"Every day we come out with the same focus of getting better each day," Williams said. "It started out with everyone learning everything. Now everyone is slowly getting a lot faster at making plays and having fun. We are all are out there running plays and playing assignment football. We are out there pressuring the quarterbacks.
Communication was something the team talked about improving in the off-season and so far it is carrying over onto the field.
"Communication is a big thing in playing defense with this team," Williams said. "Every day we come out and work hard calling out the formations and what we are going to do.
Although practices can be a bit tiresome, Leon is having fun.
"Oh yeah I am having fun," Williams responded. "It is hard, practice is long, and it is hot, but we have to do what we have to do.
Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon is very animated on the practice field and was extremely excited with Glenn Cook after he made a very nice move to the outside stuffing a run. Cook has a lot more speed than it looks and plays tough. Although he does not project as a starter this season he will likely be a contributor on special teams.
Strong safety Greg Threat is having a solid fall and should have a big year this year. He is working hard at improving his game each day and working hard in doing so.
"It has been pretty good," Threat said. "I am taking it day-by-day and I am trying to do the right things with my technique. Every day is a process, but for the most part it has gone well.
So far he has been impressed with the defense.
"There are some things we are working on with our technique and as far as playing together," Threat said. "So far everything is going well. Everyone is flying and it is a good thing because you need people wanting to make plays out there."
Coker took time to assess the safety positions.
"I think Threat has been very, very good," Coker said. "I think Meriweather has to just has to keep on keeping on. He is one that we are seeing if we can really trust him. Willie Cooper is really starting to come on. Obviously Antrel Rolle has gotten some work in at safety. We are going to have good safeties. They need to make sure they get the job done"
Devin Hester is still learning the cornerback positions and although he has made a couple of nice interceptions throughout the fall he has struggled with consistency. There are times where he gets beat bad including today when he gambled for a 20-yard pass and couldn't come up with it allowing freshman Khalil Jones to make the reception.
Glenn Sharpe had a nice day today recording a couple of tough deflections showing off his athleticism. One of the best match-ups in the fall to watch is Sharpe against his cousin and former high school teammate Sinorice Moss. The two often go up against each other and the other day Sharpe knocked Moss to the ground when going for a fumble and the unexpected Moss was not too fond of the play. The play reminded you of watching two eight-year old brothers playfully annoy each other.
QB Derrick Crudup is dealing with a sore shoulder and had a large ice bag wrapped around it causing him to miss the end of practice. It does not appear to be serious.
TE Kevin Everett was held out again today with reportedly a hip flexor. He has also complained about sore shoulders.
WR Ryan Moore continues to be guarded with a hamstring injury.
OL Rashad Butler originally was said to have a sprained ankle, but x-rays revealed he had sustained a small fracture on August 12th and is currently in a full cast with crutches. There is a chance he will not be ready for the opener on September 6th.
Status: Out 1-2 weeks
OL Brandon Sebald did not practice today after limping off yesterday with an apparent leg injury.
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 2-5 months
Saturday, August 21st, 3:30 p.m. – It is closed to the public.
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com.
Practice Report: August 20th
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