NOTE: WE ARE OFFERING THIS INSTALLEMENT OF RIVA ON THE RIVER AS A SAMPLE OF THE PREMIUM CONTENT WE ARE GENERATING FROM THE U.S. ARMY ALL-AMERICAN GAME IN SAN ANTONIO. IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE, LOOK INTO GETTING A TOTAL ACCESS PASS HERE: CHECK IT OUT.
The East's Offensive Struggles are Offensive
There is no easy way to put this. The East's offense, primarily its passing game, stunk big time this morning. Both of the East's quarterbacks, Tim Tebow and Zach Frazer, struggled in their performances this morning. Neither found a rhythm, neither threw any particularly nice balls and neither seemed to move ahead of the other for a starting position.
If the East does not make some adjustments and improvements, the West will win big.
Riva's Top Penn State Recruit Performers
1). Jared Odrick: Odrick had a fantastic morning practice. He lined up at defensive tackle and was clearly one of the top, if not THE top performer on the defensive line. On his first play, he pushed center Dan Wenger several yards into the backfield. Odrick also had his way with Connor Smith regularly pushing him into the backfield and sometimes just blowing right by him, although Smith had a big pancake on Odrick on one play. No one player on the East's defensive line was in the backfield more than Odrick.
Clearly, one of Odrick's top assets is his speed. He is fast. He is super quick off the snap and shows great overall quickness. In addition, Odrick has pretty good usage of his hands. But Odrick does need to work on his footwork and maintain leg drive throughout the entire play. Odrick is raw, but not as raw as some people think.
2). Chris Bell: While the East team struggled mightily to find some rhythm and consistency in its passing game, Bell had the morning session's only receiving touchdown, a 30-yard strike from Tebow, as Bell beat Steve Brown deep. Upon reaching the end zone, Bell put the ball on the ground after the score and did his best Michael Flatly impression as he did some sort of Riverdance influenced celebration.
Bell also had a chance to display his speed and elusiveness as he caught a short pass from Frazer and weaved between several of the East's defenders. Bell's stock is rising mightily and he has developed a buzz about him. At this morning's practice, he clearly outperformed Vidal Hazelton, although Harvin likely performed the best out of any of the other receivers, especially since he is utilized in the offense more than any other player on the East's roster. Bell was not far behind, though.
3). A.J. Wallace: Wallace had one pass break-up during the morning, but other than that, there is not much to report. He was very quick and fluid in his backpedaling, but because the quarterbacks struggled passing the ball, none of the defensive backs had a chance to showcase their talents.
4). Maurice Evans: After a stellar practice yesterday, Evans did not have a good morning session. He was pretty much neutralized by Sam Young, although on one zone-blocking scheme, Evans got into the backfield to tackle the ball carrier.
More Trips to the Well(s)
What is going on with Ted Ginn, Sr. not utilizing top running back prospect Chris Wells? Wells, who is built like a veteran NFL running back, has seen very limited time at running back. In fact, the only time Wells saw the field was in goal line formations. Spiller has gotten the vast majority of carries and done well, but the nonusage of Wells is mystifying.
Interesting Position Changes
Five-star tight end and Pittsburgh commitment Nate Byham practiced solely at wide receiver. Byham is down to around 210 pounds and will likely need to take a year to bulk up, unless the Panthers use him as a receiver. Byham is markedly slower than the other receivers on the East's roster, but is extremely athletic.
The Walking Wounded
The only player to sit out the entire practice because of injury was Dorin Dickerson, who had an undisclosed injury. Dickerson was at practice in full warm-up gear and was walking around talking to coaches and players.
During warmups, Myron Rolle tweaked what appeared to be his left foot or ankle. He was able to return to practice after having the ankle retaped.
Wenger left the last half of practice with a bloody nose. It is unclear if he broke his nose.