Practice started this morning at the Joe P. Park practice facility, but was later moved to the ROCK because of a constant rain. The conditions were pretty messy with the rain and wet, heavy footballs. The conditions lead to a less than stellar day by the QB's and receivers.
The staff worked a lot of fundamentals in preparation for tomorrows big scrimmage. Coach Disch was working the corners hard on staying on top of the receiver and not losing their cushion. Coach Pecoraro drilled his linebackers on footwork and not taking false steps. I continue to be impressed at this staffs attention to details and fundamentals. Coach Woz took a period to polish up the WR's blocking techniques and stressing being physical. I was pleasantly surprised to see true freshman Quez Watkins being very physical with his blocking. I still think Watkins has a chance to help us this season.
Safety Travarioous Moore had another nice pick today that would have gone for six has it been in game time. Picasso Nelson was very impressive in coverage today getting his hands on several balls. He batted away a nice pass from Mullens at the last second that would have resulted in a long TD completion.
The team went through a situational scrimmage period toward the end off practice. The first period saw the defense unleashing their blitz package on the first and second offensive lines. I realize it is early, but neither line handled the pressure very well. Most offensive plays ended in the backfield. Granted the offensive line has not schemed for those blitzes. The defense definitely came out on top today. The offensive players and the offensive staff appeared a bit dejected. I feel certain the Oline will be challenged to come out tomorrow for the scrimmage and set the tone. I will say that I was pleased and impressed with the play of guard Devin Farrior today. He was the lone bright spot for the Oline today.
Players that stood out on defense today are as follows. Darian Yancey, Paw Thigpen, and JaBoree Poole spent a great deal of time in the offensive backfield. Yancey is so athletic that it becomes a major chore for a big offensive tackle to consistently keep him in check. Down in the red zone Yancey put a nasty spin move on Will Freeman to the inside and completely blew up a run play that would have been an easy TD. Jeremy Sangster had some nice stops from his MLB position. True freshmen Jacques Turner and Lorenzo Dantzler had their moments today as they both continue to develop rapidly. I really could not help but be pleased with the entire defense today. The brought the fire and excitement. They simply dominated the scrimmage period.
Some final thoughts. It is starting to appear that Jordan Mitchell might be on the shelf for an extended period. The good news is the team is deep and talented at wide receiver. Also today was the second day that Dylan Bradley was no where to be seen. Hoping that he is just getting some rest. Bradley is the one player that the defense can not do without. With Bradley out, Rod Crayton, J. Mike Edwards, and true freshman Demario Smith received added work inside.