Today the "Wednesday Jinx," on the offense lifted a bit. Apparently when practices are open to the media, the offense has an off-day. That has certainly been the case since the first open practice. Today, the offense fared much better, as qualified below.
In seven-on-seven drills, C.J. Stephens, Darian Durant, and Matt Baker were all on their game. All the quarterbacks did a good job at hitting their targets in the numbers right when the receivers came out of their breaks. In seven-on-seven red zone practice, Darian Durant tossed two touchdown passes.
When the teams went to scrimmage, the first team offense opened nice lanes for the backs, and as a result Willie Parker, Madison Hedgecock, and Jacque Lewis all had medium-to-long gainers. I was very impressed with the holes being opened by the first team offense. It should be noted that the defense is not allowed to tackle the ball-carrier in these scrimmages, so some runs might have looked better than they otherwise might have. However, comparing this scrimmage to previous ones, the run offense was much more effective.
The first team offense was less successful through the air, but C.J. Stephens did connect with Chesley Borders on what would have been a touchdown strike. Even on that pass, cornerback Derrick Johnson was in a position to make a play on the ball, but Borders simply took it away from him. The first team defense evened the score a bit as free safety Chris Curry picked off a C.J. Stephens pass.
When Darian Durant and the second team offense took the field against the second team defense, he simply lit them up, tossing four consecutive completions, three of which would have arguably gone for touchdowns.Durant and the second team offense was less successful against the first team defense, which recorded two sacks against the second team offensive line. Even with the second team defense, blitzing is the norm, rather than the exception.
This observer thinks that Matt Baker showed more today than in several other scrimmages, though often he lead the first team offense against the second team defense.
- Rashad Tindall, an incoming frosh from Wilmington was in town tonight and observed practice. Word is that he is in Chapel Hill to undergo knee surgery for an injury suffered during basketball season.
- Speaking of knee injuries, Isaac Mooring, who limped off the field last Saturday after sustaining what could have been a serious knee injury, was back in full contact status today. He apparently only sustained a minor sprain of his MCL, and I was told he even participated in sqats today, though he practiced in a serious knee brace.
- Madison Hedgecock, if he gets the opportunity, will be a factor in the offense next season. He had some nice runs today courtesy of an efficient offensive line that opened some nice holes for him.
- Chris Curry contiinues to impress. As already mentioned, he had an interception today, and overall is playing very well. Stay tuned on this position, however, as Defonte Coleman has not yet returned to full contact status and wears a green no-contact jersey.
- Walk-on and forner running back, Michael Harris, had moved into the "dime spot" as a cornerback this spring. I heard several positive comments about his progress.
- LT Skip Seagraves has been holding steady at 280 pounds or better this spring, and the staff believes he can approach 300 prior to fall practice.
- DE Tommy Davis seems to be getting mixed in at defensive end with the first and second teams, and seems to be stepping up.
- OLB Jeff Longhany has taken his game up a level. The coaches seem to believe that his speed and reaction time has improved to the point he will stick at linebacker, rather than be moved to DE.
- LB Doug Justice has taken over as the starting MIKE linebacker. All he needs is a solid off-season in the weight room, and he could solifify his status in the fall.
- Word is that incoming frosh Victor Worsley and Xavier Rainey may have the best chance to see solid minutes next fall.