East Notebook - Day Three

The injury bug has really hit the East squad for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. No one has gotten badly injured but there are many sprains and bruises.

Day three of the U.S. Army American Bowl for the East squad was more of the same except with less players. Many of the players watched from the sidelines as the injury bug has really hit the East squad. Defensive end Melvin Alaeze, defensive back Demetrice Morley, running back Rashard Mendenhall, and offensive tackle Eugene Monroe did not dress today while defensive lineman Earl Heyman missed the first Wednesday session while defensive lineman James McKinney missed the second. Alaeze has a sprained wrist, Morley has a sprained (right) ankle, Mendenhall has a hamstring injury and Monroe has a bruised knee. Heyman has had some vision problems while McKinney has a hip flexor injury. Safety Kenny Phillips missed most of practice with a groin injury, while cornerback Jamario O'Neal missed half of practice with an ankle injury and Alex Boone was kicked in the left calf and he was in noticeable pain the rest of practice and is now limping noticeably.

"The numbers are tough (39 players per squad)," said East Head Coach Kenny Lucas from Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga College High School. "There were about a half-dozen or so that didn't get to go today. Physically, all these guys will be ready to go. We (the coaches) just have to make sure they are grasping the mental things we are trying to do. Plus, we need to mesh and gell. But I think we have guys that can go both ways and we should have the numbers you like to have."

Some good news for the East in regards to wide receiver Fred Rouse and running back Elan Lewis (knee). They both returned to practice. Rouse saw limited action today coming off a foot injury on Monday. Rouse did some light running and ran some routes in the seven on seven drills.

"I feel a whole lot better," said Rouse. "I plan on playing on Saturday and playing well."

Speaking of the seven on seven drills, all three quarterbacks made some very nice throws, especially Jake Christensen. He threw several beautiful strikes to wide receivers Nyan Boateng, Patrick Turner and Trey Stross. The star among the receiver corps was actually tight end Tony Moeaki. Moeaki made the catch of the day, a one handed diving grab on the sidelines. He also made several other impressive catches. "Coming here I was a little rusty because I have not played since mid-November," said Moeaki. "I am getting into the swing of things now." It looks like Moeaki will be a focal point of the East offense for Saturday's game.

A Few Thoughts
(Iowa commitment) wide receiver Trey Stross continues to impress by catching everything thrown in his direction. Patrick Turner has been the most impressive wide receiver this week. Nyan Boateng came alive today and appeared to shake some of the rust off. At tight end, Anthony Moeaki is appearing to be a huge weapon for the East.

Dace Richardson and Christopher Scott played very well today. Scott could be a devastating interior lineman; he delivers a blow, locks on, and drives people into the turf. Richardson practiced all day with a chip on his shoulder and he punished people.

Kicker Matthew Waldron continued to drill his kicks from all over the field. During kickoff drills, Waldron continuously kicked the ball into endzone. Waldron is very accurate, and still awaiting his first scholarship.

Three hits today were very impressive. Rico McCoy laid out Elan Lewis. Then on a screen pass TE Anthony Moeaki peeled back and blew up LB Derek Nicholson. Derek Nicholson crushed Toney Baker on an off-tackle play. Baker spun away and broke a long run down the left sideline.

The play of the day came from TE Anthony Moeaki who delivered a stiff-arm, separated from the defender, and made a one-handed circus catch.

A Few Standouts
Even though the East squad resembled a M*A*S*H unit today there were still a couple of standouts. Ryan Bain has been extremely impressive. The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder, from Bolingbrook, Illinois easily had the best day of the defensive lineman. Bain had a lot to prove coming to San Antonio. He played linebacker in high school and had to adjust to a new position this week. He looks like a seasoned veteran out there.

One linebacker stood out above the rest today. While Brian Cushing and Rico McCoy are getting most of the press, Jerome Hayes, from Bayonne, New Jersey showed some serious skills today. Hayes can flat run and he showed tremendous coverage skills and pass rushing abiliy.

The more I see Justin King, the more I like him. King is extremely quick and his coverage techniques are also very good. Just continuously frustrated wide receivers today at the line of scrimmage, there's no doubt that Justin King will make an instant impact in Happy Valley.

Kenny Phillips, the No. 1 safety prospect in the nation, according to Scout.com, sat out of today's practice and that meant more valuable reps for Garrett Seeger. Seeger responded by making a couple of nice plays in 7-on-7 drills as well as making a couple of good tackles in goal line defense.

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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