Though the big news out of Wednesday's practice was the sidelining of running back Austin Scott with a knee injury, there were some interesting notes out of the scrimmage. Get some scrimmage quick hits from both sides of the ball.
In what was described as a fairly "uneventful" scrimmage overall Wednesday (aside from the loss of Austin Scott
), the offense focused its work on bolstering the run attack and intermediate passing routes. Some notes from the practice:
Mark Rubin saw some first-team reps at free safety and was paired up with both Spencer Ridenhour and Nolan McCready, splitting the strong safety position. Rubin "is coming along, but lacks the initial burst on his reactions." Ridenhour "really looks the part [of a safety]" and "is showing nice consistency overall." Although he is still described as "aggressive," the secondary staff has been working with him to "channel his style and run more disciplined."
Donnie Johnson saw limited action at safety in order to allow him to recover from a minor ankle injury sustained earlier this spring.
Tom Bradley has been "working the secondary hard, laying into players" like Knowledge Timmons and Lydell Sargent in recent practices. "[Bradley] knows how good this unit can be and is working them to elimiate the mental mistakes," an observer shared. Timmons and Sargeant "show a tendency to get lazy on coverage at times —they give a cushion to their guys."
Jordan Norwood continues to be "the best complete wideout on the team," according to one observer. Norwood had a "sick" 25-yard pull-in during the scrimmage for a touchdown and has been very consistent on both long, short and intermediate routes.
Derrick Williams continues to see reps from the wideout position and some from the backfield. "It will be interesting to see how Derrick is used," one observer shared. "He has been very effective on crossing routes and post patterns. He is a threat you have to account for. The defense has seen that."
A main focus of the scrimmage was getting the offense together to close out drives. On three straight plays the first-team base offense scored. The first score was from 25 yards out on the Norwood catch from Anthony Morelli. The next was a 20-yard score on a post route and the third was a 15-yard run by Tony Hunt that was described as "sweet," where he made a 45 degree break and outran three defenders.
Though the staff continues to go easy on Hunt due to his ankle injury, it had him seeing more first-team reps Wednesday.
As reported earlier on Thursday, Austin Scott was sidelined with a knee injury near the end of the scrimmage — a goal line play.
The offensive line "is making strides" and "holding their own against the DL more regularly." A.Q. Shipley was very vocal during the scrimmage, particularly with the right side of the line. "The weak side is solid," one observer explained. "Ship[ley] and Levi [Brown] are focused on getting the right side up to their level on pulls and rolls in the zone." The biggest issue has been the collapse of the right side on bull rushes from the defensive line.
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