The day started with the north and south squads going through the dreaded weigh-in. The players lined up in the Mobile Convention Center Ballroom as each was measured for height and weight along with a bicep and hand measurement too.
The north team appeared to have the better looking specimens with Shawn Crable of Michigan, Kellen Davis of Michigan State, and USC's Keith Rivers standing out above the rest. If those three topped the list, quarterback John David Booty was definitely on the bottom with one of the least impressive at 6-foot-2, 213 pounds. He just lacks any type of muscle mass and is easily the smallest QB of the bunch with Colt Brennan a close second.
Trevor Laws appears to have dropped a few pounds or possibly just rearranged some of it. Not many of the offensive or defensive linemen stood out. Tommy Zibikowski tilted the scales at a sleek 209 on his 5-foot-11 frame. The only two guys to make anyone take notice during the weigh-in for the south were Marcus Griffin of Texas and linebacker Philip Wheeler of Georgia Tech seem to get plenty of attention. ND fans surely have memories of Wheeler the past few seasons.
Lane Kiffin and his Oakland staff are in charge of the north team and put the players through a quick paced session in the afternoon. Former ND coaches, Kent Baer and Rick Minter were sighted on the sidelines networking with other coaches as they made their rounds today.
Much of my time was spent observing Trevor and John Sullivan in their respective drills. Trevor and USC's Sedrick Ellis have very similar body types and appear to be two of the shorter linemen on either roster. Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis seemed to have the best footwork in many of the drills with Trevor exhibiting some nice light feet at times too.
Here are some observations from some of the one-on-one drills between the linemen.
Sedrick Ellis of USC had his way with John Sullivan twice in a row with a simple bull rush followed by club/rip combination giving him the sack both times. Sully then gave up the inside on a quick move by Lawrence Jackson of USC and then held out Jackson on the second attempt. Overall, John had trouble with the quicker inside guys, however he looked much better in the scrimmage session afterwards. He was working with the first unit in all sessions.
Trevor got more reps than Sully did today. At this point, he is getting reps with the second team defenders with UNC's Kentwan Balmer getting the nod on the first team. USC's offensive lineman Drew Radovich frustrated Laws on back-to-back drills without much trouble from ND's top defensive lineman. Trevor then tried a few bull rushes himself against Roy Schuening, an o-linemen from Oregon State. Schuening initially gave up a yard or two, but quickly kept Laws from penetrating past that point. During the single session, it didn't look like Laws was getting off the ball as quick as he can. He also looked much better in the team scrimmage session, which he got deep penetration and batted a ball thrown by Booty. It sailed 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage, which triggered Keith Millard, defensive line coach, to give Trevor some much deserved praise.
Without much time to watch Zibikowski, I only caught a few glimpses of him at his safety position. He appeared to be holding his own, however he wasn't getting any reps at punt returner during the special teams session. He might get some later this week. Based on just one practice, I feel the north may have a better overall unit than the south.
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