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After practice, Mike Riley spoke into the mic. Among the subjects covered, news on Wilder McAndrews' thumb injury and more -- subscribers can listen here:
O-line, TE & RB vs. D-line & Linebackers
Jacquizz Rodgers seems to be really running well inside the lines. Rodgers' ability to push forward after the initial stop shows how strong a player the Beavs have in the 5-7, 193 pounder. Keaton Kristick positioned himself up pretty well on the outside runs. Dennis Christopher managed to breach the line of scrimmage on a blitz.
Sammie Stroughter made a nice catch to start things off -- as usual. Tim Clark tried to jump the route but was late and Stroughter ended up going the other way. Clark made it a point to apologize to coach Mark Banker straight away for that particular decision to go for the pick. Greg Laybourn took it personally, picking off QB Lyle Moevao the very next play. Laybourn ended up hitting the ground hard, but managed to hang onto the ball. WR Damola Adeniji made the coaches happy with a nice grab. Sean Canfield returned to action as the second string QB but failed to connect with his receivers on the first series for the quarterback. David Pa'aluhi became the latest victim of Jacquizz's running mastery. Moevao came back from the pick by completing passes to James Rodgers and Stroughter. Adeniji failed to get open on a play and he took some heat from the staff for that one. The coaches were reminding him he needs to win the one-on-one battles.
11 vs. 11
Moevao fumbled the ball, but Mike Remmers recovered it on a heads up play. The next two plays looked like Moevao would have been sacked by Victor Butler and Bryant Cornell had it been game action. On one of them, Moevao did manage to hit Chris Johnson on a long pass, Johnson hauling in the catch over his shoulders. Keenan Lewis was signaling that Johnson pushed him off, but he wasn't seeing many heads nodding in agreement -- nice play and grab by Johnson. Canfield came in and made a nice pass to Gabe Miller, but Miller could not hang on. He may have been getting ready to run after the catch and taken his eyes of the ball for a split second. On Moevao's turn, Miller made up for his mistake with a great sliding catch that was preceded by a crisp route. Darrell Catchings got in on the act on a short pass, thanks to a great blitz pick up by Andy Levitre. That pass was the last of Canfield's for the session. Later, Jeremy Francis ran into a wall by the name of Latu Moala. Francis almost fell backwards after the hit.
11 vs. 11
Pernnell Booth managed to almost knock down two O-linemen on his way to the QB and almost certainly have sacked Moevao had the play been fully live. O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh was visibly upset with the result and gave a short lecture to his charges. And it looked like it worked. On the very next play, Mike Remmers upended Victor Butler. There were a lot of hoots ringing around the field after that play, particularly because Butler has had such a good camp thus far. Dennis Christopher managed to get past the o-line and strip the ball from Justin Engstrom. Then he completed the trifecta by recovering it. Francis turned in a good run, splitting the linebackers in the process. Brady Camp decleated one of the d-linemen on a broken play.
Al Afalava read Moevao nicely and jumped the route, but couldn't hang onto the pick. Had he been able to secure the purchase, it had easy pick-6 written all over it. Camp turned in another fine block the next play. The skelly ended with completions to Stroughter and Miller.
Skelly (short yardage situation)
Ryan McCants takes the handoff -- and he was gone. Greg Laybourn made another great pass break-up that nearly ended in an interception.
11 vs. 11
Lyle Moevao tried a QB sneak with some success. Jacquizz Rodgers gets stopped by Brennan Olander and as Quizz tries to keep running, gets shoved back by Olander. Gregg Peat didn't like that, shoving Olander back. Not a big deal though.
11 vs. 11 (short yardage situation)
Moevao, on a broken play, stayed with it and right before he ran out of bounds, finds Stroughter in the end zone -- nicely done on all fronts. Brady Camp had a nice catch for a TD. Bryant Cornell had a deflection on a pass to a wide open Stroughter -- Cornell timed his leap really well. Latu Moala got past the line and would have hit Jacquizz Rodgers for a loss in the backfield. Lance Mitchell made a last moment break-up in the end zone on a near TD completion by Engstrom. The offense ends it strong, connecting easy touchdowns to Camp and Stroughter -- absolutely fantastic routes on both occasions by the pass catchers. Gregg Peat and Keenan Lewis ended up in a minor shove off and had to be separated.
Play of the day
Several candidates but we're going with Greg Laybourn's pick of Moevao. Not only did he well time his jump, he managed to hold on to the ball after hitting the ground hard on the fall.
Kicking game update
The morning session was overcast, relatively cool and the grass was still slightly wet from the dew. The kicker looked good on Friday despite the potentially slicker conditions. it will be interesting to see how they do when the defense is allowed to sell out on block attempts. As of now, they are only allowed to rush to get past the line. The kickers as a group seem to get the kicks away in time, but accuracy might not be the same with the rolling thunder coming down upon them. This reporter won't be shocked this upcoming week if we might see some blocks out there.
Things got more chippy out there on Friday. Players like Clark are also working hard to make an impression, though he ended up on the losing side of a risky play on that occasion. One would seem to think that coaches are on Adeniji's tail all the time but a more complete picture could be they simply see a lot of potential in the receiver, and they're trying to make him more consistent and tough-minded on every single play. The camp physicality has gone up a notch, and so has the number of reps in scrimmaging. It was good to see Canfield back in action and throwing deep, even though he only did a few reps in scrimmage action. Some teams might be in for a surprise this year with Rodgers -- would-be tacklers could be prone to, because of his height, underestimate his ability to gain yards after contact.