US ARMY Practice Report - Day 1

If you want a theme for the first day of practice, it was defense. You expect that in a practice where the offense is literally learning everything from the hip and snap by snap. That gives the offensive players a rough time at first as they are trying to learn as they go, all while a group of 11 All-Americans are doing everything they can to stop them.

Today was all about the defense. The offense not even knowing what to do had to fend off a group of all-everythings that had to do little more then tee off in an effort to stop them. That's not good, but even in the face of an overwhelming amount of adversity, there were still some that did manage to shine. Center Josh McNeil out of Collins, Mississippi, who like most offensive players started off slow, but once the offense got part of their system integrated, he was getting a rhythm and as he said, coming back in style. "Yeah, we started off slow, but you figure that's going to happen," Josh said. "We got it going though and I know I had at least seven pancakes." McNeil is committed to the university of Tennessee.


The offensive line was almost totally overmatched the entire practice as they were trying to learn and fend off the 300 pounders at the same time, but future Nebraska players like Rodney Picou and Craig Roark still managed to have some success. After a rude-awakening after one of the first encounters with defensive end, Raymond Henderson, Roark heated up his game and a couple of other linemen in the process, one being all-everything defensive linemen, Roy Miller.


It's funny about these events, though, as players you only hear about and see on film or in pictures, you can finally see up close and personal and often, they aren't quite what you expected.


Reginald Youngblood fit that to a tee, but only because as big and as imposing as you think he is, stand close to him. He's more imposing than that. One of the best battles of the day was Youngblood versus Oak Creek High's Raymond Henderson. Henderson's success came from beating Youngblood off the snap, something the lightning-quick was capable of, but if Reginald got his hands on the Wisconsin All-American, that was all she wrote.


Because of the offensive struggles, Nebraska commits like Marlon Lucky and Leon Jackson weren't having the greatest of days. Lucky still managed to reel of a twenty-yarder though, up the gut, zigging and zagging through defenders until he was taken down in the secondary. "We're figuring things out," Leon Jackson said. "It was a bit of a struggle today, but we'll get better before the week is done."


You didn't have to tell the defense to get better. In fact, you practically had to tell them to tone it down. Well, at least Ryan Perrilloux might have said that when defensive tackle Jerrell Powe lit the super-QB up in the backfield.


Yes, there is that little rule about not taking players down, but you tell someone to just stop a 340 pound lineman and we'll see how that goes. "Hey, I'm a big man," Jerrell said. "I can't just stop like those little running backs."


He along with Demarcus Granger literally owned the middle, both appearing to be even in this game of titans, men amongst boys, but they had a nice compliment to the outside with players like Aaron Lewis, Raymond Henderson, Marcus Shavers, just to name a few.


In fact, for most, that defensive front was the most dominating factor all day. "We were on them the whole time," Demarcus Granger said. "In a game like this, you have to come strong and we were bringing it from the second we touched the field."


You have to give it to the defensive-side as this was their practice to dominate and they did that and then some. As the offense continues to learn the ultra-simplified schemes, though, they will start to come back a little more and then, a little more. It's what they are looking forward to, because at least for today, it was all good for the bad boys of the West.


Advantage: Defense

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