Quick Quacks

Notes from Thursday's practice <p> Much of the time was spent working on the short passing game. Usually out of the four-receiver set, either a tight end dragging underneath the linebacker or a back setting up short just beyond the line of scrimmage.

Coaching was a bit more emphatic and a touch less patient. After last Saturday's scrimmage that saw the defense thwart just about all the offense attempted, increased attention was placed on making the correct read as the play unfolds. After a whistle had blown one play dead, receiver's coach Dan Ferrigno barked "Hey Cameron! Read his block. If he gets the guy hooked, take it outside" The second rep was run perfectly.

On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti spent a good portion of the early practice working the linebackers and DB's on their drops into pass coverage, at one point saying to the linebackers "if you take that quick little shuffle step you can knock the @#$% out of him (the receiver) – we can kill routes that way."

Later when the offensive 1's moved the ball downfield with four or five successful plays, he sent the group off the field and chided them "you guys didn't want to work very hard. That's a shame."

It wasn't just the defensive 1's that drew the ire of their coach. Tight ends coach Neil Zoumboukos was clearly frustrated at his group's struggles in getting properly positioned quickly at the line of scrimmage. Finally he just blew the whistle as he stepped toward the group and growled "Can we just get into the huddle and then get into Left Twin? Listen to the damn call."

Fumbles, which have been frequent this spring, were less common in today's session. Two or three hit balls hit the ground, all on the option pitch. The center/QB exchange wasn't always flawless but none were lost.

CB Sharrod Davis surely will attract the most atta-boy's of the film review, scoring three "stopped in his tracks" hits against the offense.

As a whole, the defense is playing with a lot of speed and appears very confident. Nothing is coming easy for the offense when they line up against this defense, whether it be a formal scrimmage as last Saturday, when they are lined up against the full defense for a series of plays in practice or during the 7-on-7 drills. The good news is this elevated defensive performance will push the offense to accelerate their playmaking, the bad news is the offensive coaches are likely going to be grumpy and hoarse for another week or ten days.

A scrimmage tomorrow is set to close this week of practice. Two sessions are scheduled for next week with the spring game set for Saturday the 30th at 12:30 pm.

Look for another practice update after Friday's session.

Till the next time…

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