Spring Practice Notes

Under threatening skies, the Rice Owls went through Practice #5 of 2008 Spring Drills on Monday. The practice was almost exclusively Offense vs. Defense as both units rotated players in frequently. What a difference a year makes, as Coach Bailiff was beaming Monday about the progress of his charges this Spring...

- I had the opportunity to meet Dan Hammerschmidt Monday when Coach David Bailiff brought him over for an introduction. Two things: I continue to be more impressed with Coach Bailiff's actions. It's a small thing to do in bringing a new coach over to meet folks at a break in practice but it also speaks volumes about the kind of man Bailiff is. He is always focused on relationship building - it's clear why both Rice supporters and high school coaches around the state respect him so much. On Hammerschmidt, we didn't talk long but he's a personable guy and seems to be getting a little more comfortable each day at Rice. On that note, the offense, and it's receivers, look to be clicking pretty well right now...

- There were lots of red jerseys out on Monday - but nothing major. Mostly minor muscle pulls and strains. Going 4 straight days because of last Monday's rainout didn't help. Chase, Thor, and J Hill were wearing them for protective reasons. Terrance Garmon is supposed to be limited in his work but is looking more and more like a "full speed" player. Jonathan Arceneaux is coming along slowly in his return to action. He still has some work to do to strengthen the "support" muscles around his knee, but has a chance to be 90-100% come August...

- Speaking of Dan Hammerschmidt's receivers, Toren Dixon took a Screen about 60 yards for a score in Monday's practice. Dixon looks noticeably faster this spring. Walk-on Jaimin Shah continues to make some nice catches - he's been wearing #33 this spring...

- Preston Thompson and Tyler Parish are alternating at Right Tackle...

- The Strongest Owl (at least in the Bench Press), Chris Ptaszek is having an outstanding spring. Davon Primus is also making progress on the Defensive Line.

- James Casey continues to make some kind of highlight reel catch or run in just about every practice. Understated obviously, but he's a very special player...

- Chance Talbert and Pierre Beasley are at practice but were still in shorts yesterday...

- John Thomas Shepherd missed a wide open Taylor Wardlow streaking downfield on a seam route...

- Jeramy Goodson had a nice cutback run - making something out of nothing when the defense shut down his intended running lane...

- The offensive line is playing much more "together" this spring - a really good thing and obviously important in a Zone blocking scheme. Coach Blake Miller is very detail oriented and you'll find him coaching technique to his players on every single play...

- Will Shoppa is practicing at full speed and looks noticeably thicker in his legs - he's about 245 pounds right now. DE Aaron Williams is up to about 225 pounds, and granted he's still light for the position but is making improvement. The coaches would like to see him at 235-240 this fall...

- Both of the Rice "big" backs have looked good. Justin Hill looks just as fast as ever. Taylor Dupree is working on hitting holes a little quicker...

- Chase Clement looks every bit that of the poised Senior signal caller he is. With the line making continued improvements, the Offense has looked very impressive at times this spring and without elaborating, much more complex...

The Owls continue practice today...


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