The players are ready to hit. Going through drill after drill, play after play, day after day and not being allowed to go full contact has got to be one of the most frustrating aspects of spring practice. The players are getting antsy and the coaches are getting worried as some players are starting to let loose.
S Austin Hall gave RB Jeremy Francis a good pop that prompted Riley to gather his troops for a talk in restraint. Unfortunately a few plays later John Reese laid out Keith Pankey on a legal blind side block that had the offensive players cheering and the coaches yelling.
Injuries are piling up. QB Lyle Moevao's thumb. RB Jeremy Francis' knee. LB Keo Camat's concussion. TE Gabe Miller's dislocated finger. RB Patrick Fuller's hamstring. OL Adam Speer's torn pectoral muscle. WR Casey Kjos back. OL Jeremy Perry's knee. DT Pernell Booth's knee. Yikes! It's a good thing the start of the season is a summer away.
Look for the mid-range passing game to flourish. With offensive threats Sammie Stroughter and James Rodgers and a year of experience under their collective belts look for the mid-range passing to the tight ends to make a triumphant return to the Men in Black.
TE Gabe Miller and WR Casey Kjos can't catch a break. After suffering back to back Achilles heal tears Miller is back on the injured list after dislocating a bone in his left hand forcing him to miss the rest of spring practice. Another Beaver who can't seem to escape a year without a injury is Kjos who was sidelined a practice after suffering from back spasms, but returned shortly.
Coverage teams should be good. With the core of the coverage team returning - namely S Greg Laybourn, LB Dwight Roberson, S Austin Hall who combined for 70 of the tackles last season and a host of talented youngsters including S Cameron Collins, S Lance Mitchell and CB Brandon Hardin set to chip in coach Dave Ungerer is cautiously optimistic they will better than 2007 when they finished fifth in the nation.
QB Brennan Sim is making a run at No. 3 on the depth chart. With Moevao sitting out Friday's practice Sim got the bulk of the repetitions along with Ryan Katz and Justin Engstrom. Sim made several nice throws and looks to have a hold on the No. 3 position allowing Katz to redshirt.
Former Beaver football players at practice is a good thing. It's good for current and prospective players morale and motivation to see a steady stream of former Beaver football players, some who are now making a living in the NFL, visiting practice to say hi or pursue a degree.
Freezing temperatures in April suck. The football team was forced to practice outside in chilly temperatures due to a volleyball tournament. The high-30 temperatures had players bundled up like was November.
Looking for a kick returner. Coach Ungerer is still looking for a kick off returner. The candidates at this point are James Dockery, Bryan Payton, Tim Clark, James Rodgers and Darrell Catchings. Dockery is quick with good cutting ability while Payton would be an excellent lead blocker. Rodgers and Catchings are playmakers while Clark has a good nose for the ball.