As one observer said, "Pretty much everyone was very anxious to get [back] on the practice field. The plan was originally to start (spring practice) Wednesday, so pushing it back to Saturday had [the players] eager to start."
"I think the squad overall has had a good winter; there was some good energy and pop to the work (Saturday)," according to another observer. "There's always rust to knock off, but early intensity counts."
Many players are particularly anxious to get into full-pad practices for contact, but the staff generally will ease into those sessions.
The players reported Saturday morning in shorts, jerseys and helmets in Holuba Hall then got in a run and then spent about 15 minutes or so of the session on position drills with their units.
The players then took in some individual and agility drills working footwork, blocking technique and the like.
The first few practices are used for a general evaluation of the players by the coaches, to see how they have progressed during the winter and also to help the staff to start working toward a depth chart and work on the structure of the playbook.
Here are some notes of interest from the initial sessions:
- Quarterbacks Rob Bolden, Paul Jones, Matt McGloin and Kevin Newsome all got some basic pass work in to "loosen up" along with agility and timing work.
- A few observers pointed to Derek Moye as looking "more relaxed in taking charge" of the receiving unit. "That often comes with time." Shawney Kersey had "nice routes" in the general pass drills.
- With the defensive backs, Michael Wallace, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, D'Anton Lynn and Stephon Morris particularly stood out in the observer feedback, said to be impressive in coverage drills and "smooth" on transitions.
- Derrick Thomas was reportedly back working with the secondary in the Saturday session and "has to get back up to form," but generally was said to look good on runs.
- With the running backs, Stephfon Green "ran strong" and "looked like a veteran" in ball carrying drills. Silas Redd also "picked up where he left off" (last season). Redd figures to get more reps next season with the departure of Evan Royster to graduation. "I said last year he had 'it' early on and I think he could really become a fantastic weapon as his confidence grows,"an observer said.
- The feeling is that linebacker will be a position of strength even with the departure of seniors Bani Gbadyu and Chris Colasanti. Many feel that Michael Mauti, Khairi Fortt, Gerald Hodges and Nate Stupar give the unit a solid foundation to build from. There were also mentions that it was good to see Glenn Carson and Dakota Royer in drills.
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