Day Two East Practice Notebook

Tuesday was day two of practices at the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. The East squad took the field for two sessions broken up by a lunch break. Although several players on the East sat out of Tuesday's practice, the rest of the East squad picked up their play over their performances on Monday.

East Offense
Jonathan Crompton looked very impressive during Tuesday's practice sessions. Crompton looks very strong physically and has shown outstanding touch on deep passes as well as the ability to thread the needle on the short to intermediate routes. The most impressive part of Crompton's game is the way he takes charge in the huddle and leads the offense.

Greg Paulus looked a lot better during today's session, especially during his progression reads. Paulus, who admitted that he is getting the rust off as he has concentrated on basketball during the past month, also attributed his success to the livelier atmosphere. "It's a lot different when you are in a game type of atmosphere, this separates the good quarterbacks from the rest," Paulus said.

Jake Christensen plays remarkably similar to current Iowa signal-caller Drew Tate. He throws BB's and he is very mobile.

At running back, Rashard Mendenhall continues to look like an electric athlete. Mendenhall is lightning quick and shows great strength running off tackle. Mendenhall's ability to catch passes out of the backfield is unmatched. North Babylon (N.Y.) running back Jason Gwaltney has also shown more speed then most anticipated that he had to go along with great strength and power. Perhaps the most impressive receiver to date for the East offense is Tennessee native Patrick Turner. One member of the Scout.com recruiting team compared him to former USC wide receiver Mike Williams. Trey Stross has been a pleasant surprise for the East receiving corps as well. Stross has been consistently impressive during all four sessions. It appears as though the Hawkeye's have garnered a prize from the "Buckeye State".

Tuesday's practices once again proved that offensive linemen Alex Boone and Dan Doering are among the best in the nation. They were both very impressive during all of Tuesday's practices as was Michael Oher. Tuesday, Oher showed amazing quickness and agility for a 340-pound player. West Catholic lineman Marques Slocum has also looked impressive and actually even played some defense during the afternoon scrimmage. Slocum was very quick off the ball on offense and defense.

Kicker Matthew Waldron has been very accurate with all off his kicks. During special teams practice, Waldron was drilling most of his kickoffs into the end zone. Waldron is still waiting for his first scholarship offer.

East Defense
The East defense continued to impress on Tuesday. From the very start of practice, the defense came up strong as linebacker Derek Nicholson made a great break on a slot receiver to break up a pass to begin 7 v 7's. Despite having the stout look of a middle linebacker, he showed the ability to cover sideline to sideline in order to be a three down linebacker that won't have to leave the field in passing situations.

Demetrice Morley has been the top cornerback through two days of practice, but with Fred Rouse on the sidelines, Morley and Michael Ray Garvin both lined up on offense as well. On one of his first plays, Jake Christiansen tried to find Morley, but Phillips came across for an interception.

Phillips picked off another pass almost right away, and it looked like the offense wouldn't be able to complete any passes not thrown out wide to Patrick Turner. However, as Phillips got a breather, the East quickly took advantage with back to back touchdown strikes.

The East defensive backs came back to show that they are one of the best units on either team as Justin King made a nice play to break up a pass in front of him. At cornerback, Adam Meyers-White made an impressive break off of his man to knock the ball out of Patrick Turner's hands. Meyers-White showed that he has the versatility to play corner or safety depending on how he's needed on the next level.

The East offense tried to counter by throwing some underneath patterns, but it was a mistake to try that to Brian Cushing's side. After standing one guy up, Cushing looked to his teammate and said "Look, he's scared to come across now." Sure enough, Cushing jammed him at the line hard enough to knock him backwards as well.

It wasn't all a bed of roses for the East Squad in the defensive backfield though. Patrick Turner was able to use his size and athleticism to pull down a few very nice catches. Kenny Phillips, Demetrice Morley, and Bryan Evans were asked separately who the best receiver they've faced in practice was, and each named the same man...Turner.

On special teams, Zoltan Mesko is the East's punter. Of course the East coaching staff hopes that Mesko is not needed on Saturday, but if he is, the East staff can rest easy – Mesko has a cannon for a leg and can swap field position in a hurry. J.B. Paxson looks to have locked down the deep snapping position.

Injury Report
Tuesday's practice for the East was relatively injury free. A couple of the injuries from Tuesday's practice included a minor Patrick Turner suffering from trouble with his hamstring and Kenneth Phillips with a minor groin injury. Offensive lineman Eugene Monroe also tweaked his knee during the afternoon session but it did not look to be a serious cause for concern. Running back Elan Lewis and wide receiver Fred Rouse both sat out of practice due to injuries suffered on Monday while cornerback Victor Harris sat out the last portion of Tuesday's afternoon session due to the burns that he suffered in December.

Quote of the Day
Nyan Boateng: "We don't talk trash, we back our play up on the field,"

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is played in San Antonio, Texas., at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC at 1 p.m. Eastern. Scout.com is a sponsor, the official selection partner and exclusive on-line partner of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as the associated U.S. Army Combine for underclassmen. The game features the top 78 football prospects in the country. East versus West.

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