WX: Cloudy, Cold, and Windy
Temp: mid-40's W/CD: upper 30's
Facility: Dan Devine Pavilion
Uni's: Sweats & Helmets
In the House: James Kinney, the MSU football staff, Mr. Balboa (you know who you are Rock!)
Spring practice, Day 2, and while the weather hasn't changed, the facility has and I can't tell you how nice it was to be inside the Dan Devine Pavilion.
Special teams work, and one-on-one drills, continued to be a heavy focus today.
One interesting one-on-one line drill right in front of us, where the lines lined up together but ran the drill one by one. The defense kicked the offensive line's butt repeatedly.
GLOVES UP: The first fight(s) of the young practice period happened today. The first was a small skirmish involving the group mentioned above. George Lane apparently caught Tony Palmer in the throat during their work, and Mr. Palmer took exception to that move. Some pushing and shoving before players got in between.
DQ BLIZZARD: The second fight involved young Mr. DeQuincy Howard. Those of you who are familiar with the program are shocked I am sure (said the scribe, tongue planted firmly in cheek). DQ, who is in the best shape he has been in since his arrival on campus, took exception to an interception by the defense and decided to take the energy out of that group. I would imagine he tried to strip the ball loose from the "d" back who had just returned it for a touchdown. I thought it was Kincaid, but another writer thought it might have been Cal Washington. At any rate, fists started flying, guys came running into the pile, and the next thing you know Howard is bent over (somebody had the back of his helmet) throwing wild haymakers at Jason Simpson, caught on the ground beneath him. Coaches (at least two, maybe a third) and players finally got them separated. About that time the horn sounded and everyone went to a new drill. DQ headed that way, but was forced to make a detour to have a quick one-on-one with Mr. Pinkel.
SPEED KILLS II: On the carpet, this team looks extremely fast, particularly at the skill positions.
LETTING IT FLY: All three quarterbacks had a long session of throwing from a designated sprint role-out. All three handled it pretty well. The most difficult pass was the pass even or slightly backwards to the trail receiver short across the middle. It gave all three quarterbacks problems, and specifically Chase Patton. Honestly, I think Chase has progressed from the fall and is already pushing Brandon Coleman (and I was the one in the fall who thought BC was definitely the 2nd best QB on the field). It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his presence when the live ammo starts flying. He looks very comfortable now. BTW, the pick which started the fight with DQ, came from Coleman on a 5-yard in from the wide-out to the weak side. It was double covered.
Brad Smith in the shotgun
FIVE SECONDS: It appears, and we all know looks can be deceiving, that the quarterbacks are under new guidance this season. If the play is not open in :05, run the ball. We have seen a lot of that early. I for one remember last spring and fall when GP was trying to get Brad to stay in the pocket longer. If it wasn't there, dump the ball. No more. With this spread offense, it is :05, or tuck it and run.
IN THE WOODS: Marcus Woods again looked like the fastest back of the group. He continues to be pacesetter for the rest of the backs. Jimmy Jackson and Tony Temple also looked good today. I really like John Ruth, a 5'11, 218 TB out of Jefferson City. I'm curious to see how fast he is, because he looks a lot like Beau Viehmann. Can he lead block? We will find out when the pads go on.
BUFFY: I mentioned DQ earlier. A mini-version of James Kinney is manning one of the ‘starting' LB'er spots. That would be Derrick Ming. Also, Brad Smith has added a little more weight, and it is all muscle. He looks primed for a big season. He scored on the 7-on-7 drills today twice in a row. Smith ran a QB option to the weak side, they strung it wide, he tucked it and went 50+ yards. Very next play, deep down the left sideline he threw a 50-strike to EK in the back corner.
WHERE IS THE HOLE II: Yesterday in conditioning drills it looked like the defensive line. Today in one-on-one drills it was DEFINITELY the offensive line. Brown and Clinger (our two starting tackles if the season started today) had their heads spun by Brian Smith and Stryker Sulak. Our o-line depth is extremely young: Dirk, Madison, Lazaroff, Hille, Tipton, and Riggs. The juco's have a lot of technique learning to do. Andy Hille, by the way, looked good today. He is starting to shed that paunch he had, and did a very good job on these one-on-one drills. Defensively, we don't have a lot of beef, but they sure can fly around. Josh Barbo is really struggling with his footwork, and he knows it. It's not an easy transition to make from TE to DT. Those expecting him to be on the field this fall may be disappointed. He has a lot to learn. That said he is working hard, and his teammates, the X-Man (aka: Xzavie Jackson)in particular, seem to be very interested in helping him.
DROPS: A couple of nice catches turned into fumbles today, and that didn't sit very well with Coach Andy Hill. One was by Tommie Saunders (unforced), and the second, which sparked an emotional outburst from Hill, was by Jerrill Humphrey forced by Will Moore.
ON THE FLY: We have all been waiting for the breakouts from either Greg Bracey, or Jason Ray at WR. I'm not ready to go that far yet; but Bracey is off to a flying start. He had several nice grabs, and hooked up with Chase Patton down the right sideline for a nice 35-yard TD catch between the zone today. I remember one drop for him, but that was it.
NOTE: Tomorrow the Tigers practice in shells. It should make for a little better evaluation.