The best way to describe practice these days is, don't get hurt, and dang it is time to hit somebody else!
"We are still in training camp and won't start game prep for UNLV till next week," said Lobo Head Coach Rocky Long.
It isn't that they aren't practicing hard as the depth chart isn't completely finished and the opportunity for a player to move up the depth chart is still there but there are times when a play or two isn't run with the same intensity as we saw in the first two weeks of training camp and when some "half-assed" performance is given there is an assistant coach there to immediately read the riot act if need be.
It is great seeing the Rocky Long's 3-3-5 defense in place right now with #9 Tyson Ditmore playing the Lobo position and the havoc that is being created by this defense. The offense which was on fire earlier during training camp is adjusting but of course there is more blitzing and the intensity of the linebackers Thursday was evident as they were crushing every runner and the blitzes of the starting three (Cody Kase, Mike Mohoric, and Quincy Black) spent more time in the Lobo offensive backfield than some of the running backs. It wasn't just the starters either as backups Mike Tuohy and Joe Selander were in on a couple of nice tackles.
The Lobos broke off into some one on one drill where the linebackers come with a full head of steam and the Hitmen have to get out of their stance and take on a full blitzing LB. The O-line had a couple of players doing real well as they are big and bulky and can move. Anthony Kilby is really pushing for the starting tackle position. "Probably the most exciting battle left for a starting job at quick tackle," said Rocky Long and neither Patrick Hodges nor Kilby are giving an inch. The guy that impressed though once again in my mind and I don't believe I seen him be beat once is Terrence Pennington. I am just amazed at how far Terrence has come since his first couple of years here.
Like I said earlier though, the linebackers were bringing it today as during the blitz drill Mike Mohoric after a not so spectacular effort in which he was called out some came back and tossed his OL to the ground, but it was 6-0 222 lb Andres Madueno who drew the oohhs and ahhs of The Red Menace contingency, and his fellow players Thursday as he came full boar into Michael Justice 6-5 333 and blew him up. There wasn't any shake and bake, no cute move, just straight up Madueno helmet to Justice's chest and the smaller man had a sack!
Some quick notes
DonTrell Moore is ready. He is looking for contact, making cuts, and Thursday was not wearing the blue jersey.
Dom has predicted that Adrian Byrd is going to score a lot of touchdowns in short yardage situations this year. If training camp is any indication look for him to score from long distance as well as he had another nice run today for long yardage and a score.
Offensive Player of Practice
#79 Terrence Pennington
A former player's father once told me "Terrence Pennington will never amount to much on the football field, he is slow, not very strong, and I am amazed that Rocky Long recruited him." Well that player and his father are no longer with the Lobos, while Terrence Pennington is poised for a spectacular year.
Defensive Player of Practice
#48 Justin Clayton
John Salazar and I were at practice yesterday and we were impressed with all of the linebackers that were hitting hard, I mentioned some earlier in this report, but the most consistent hitter Thursday in my opinion was Justin Clayton who kept bringing it and bringing it and bringing it!
#54 Andres Madueno
This along with the Defensive player were the toughest as Joe Selander and Mike Mohoric pushed but Andres giving up well over 100 pounds rolling over the big man had to be the highlight of the day and thus (How do you like this Shakespearian thus??) he earns the honor.
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