Finally, the players are all gussied upToday, for the first time, the players were decked out in all of their gear from head to toe. Pants, shoulder pads, and helmets were worn; however, full contact was still not allowed. As Coach Gansz went through the coverage drill, he had to "correct" players on not fully tackling. Is this practice good to keep players healthy? Or will players not be ready for the full speed and full contact of the Rice game?
Same practice, different dayFor the first half of practice, the players worked on their typical individual drills, with quarterbacks and receivers running and throwing route after route. The defense did their pursuit drills, and I will commend them on much better hustle today.
Bench the press?At practice today, there was much more press then in previous days, except for the day that Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston were out at practice. Among my esteemed colleagues from the media were representatives from 1310 The Ticket, Dallas Observer, CBS College Sports Network, and George Riba from WFAA channel 8. I think the word got out that it was full pads today, so more people felt compelled to come cover this Mustang team.
The specialist team of them allCoach Gansz and his punt units worked on their fundamentals today as the 1st and 2nd team punt units got in a good amount of work. The blocking up front was live, so that will help these players come game day. Snapping the ball for the first team was junior Jackson Taylor, and for the most part, his snaps were looking good. For the 2nd team, the deep snapper was true freshman Jimmy Chase, and it would appear that Chase needs a little more work on his snapping. However, with the proper coaching and technique work, he should have his snaps down by the start of the season.
MorSteady than any otherSenior punter Thomas Morstead once again looked good as his punts were all spiraling, nose-down, through the air. The only trouble with Morstead and the first unit was their timing. The coaching staff wanted them to have the ball kicked within 2.1 seconds. From snap to kick must be at least 2.1 seconds or under. At first, Morstead and company were having trouble getting this timing down, however, after multiple reps, they were finally able to get it under 2.1 seconds.
Drum roll please….For the first time in the June Jones era, the much awaited 1st offense VS. 1st defense showdown occurred today in full pads. For the most part, the defense won the day. They penetrated the line up front and caused havoc for the quarterbacks and offensive lineman. Another bone to pick with this offense is the drops by receivers. Bottom line is that the receivers are dropping too many balls to be successful.
Sanders has companyEmmanuel Sanders now has some company in the receiving corps, with 2 more receivers showing flashes of brilliance, particularly in their run after the catch. BJ Lee, the 5'5" freshman from Mississippi showed off his blazing speed as he caught a ball underneath and sprinted towards the sideline and quickly turned up field for a long gain. What he may lack in size, he certainly makes up for in quickness and speed. Also joining Lee was sophomore Aldrick Robinson. Robinson had a few great catches, and he also used is great speed to turn short gains into long ones.