Friday (8/8) Freshman Practice Notes

Day Two for the Stanford freshmen football class was a little more smooth than their debut on Thursday. First day nerves have gone by the wayside, and the 30 frosh didn't have the fatigue from a morning of tough conditioning tests. Read on for some of the top performers, as well as a pair of unexpected position assignments.

  • As is always my fancy, I tried to give some attention to the offensive line today. There are exactly five frosh for five spots, which means that Steve Morton has assigned each of them tentatively to one position. That allows the team to practice with a full line, though I expect when these five join the returning upperclassmen on Monday that positions will shake up. For the time being, here is where the five frosh have lined up the first two days of practices: (from left tackle to right tackle) Amir Malayery, Preston Clover, Mikal Brewer, Merlin Brittenham and David Long. The surprise there, of course, is that Clover is playing guard while Brewer is at center. When these players signed back in the winter, it was understood that Brewer had the athleticism to play any interior spot, but Clover had the feet and hands that would best suit him at center.
  • Over on the defensive line, another mild surprise has been seeing Chris Horn at defensive tackle the past two days rather than at his expected defensive end position. But if you ask DTs coach Dave Tipton, he'll tell you he saw Horn inside with him all along. "There isn't any change - this is where I always said Chris would play," Tipton comments. "Just look at his shoulders. He could easily carry 280 pounds on that frame. And he's a great-looking 250 already. He'll be great for us inside, and I wanted him there from day one all along."
  • Defensive ends coach Peter McCarty is putting a heavy emphasis on quickness and low pad level for his pair of DEs. Rather than running a normal set of footwork "sidestep" drills you often see, McCarty had Emmanuel Awofadeju and Udeme Udofia working on their lateral quickness while crouched under a low-lying canopy about three feet off the ground (see photo above). Both players show quickness and explosiveness, though both have long frames that will need more weight. Udofia looks to me like he has put on some good weight in the offseason since his senior season last fall.
  • Both Michael Okwo and Landon Johnson are playing at a very physical level during seven-on-seven coverage drills of the running backs. Johnson was very visibly grabbing jerseys in almost every contact, and the RBs afterward noted that they were taking some tough shots. Jason Evans showed off a split lip from one hit he took coming off the line. These are certainly two linebackers who like to mix it up and play physical football. Okwo also is showing in several drills every bit of his speed that was advertised.
  • Fantastic day again for T.C. Ostrander, who delivers a very strong ball with a compact throwing motion. I don't measure Ostrander's arm strength by how far he can throw the ball downfield, but rather by the pace with which he throws the ball on intermediate routes. He could be awfully good for Stanford.
  • Another fantastic day for both Mark Bradford and Evan Moore. Bradford hasn't dropped a pass yet that I've seen, and he is snagging several balls right off the ground or high in the air. Moore was set to make the catch of the day on a 20-yard pattern down the right sideline, where he had his defender beat by a step and Ostrander had the ball up where only Moore could get to it. The tall WR timed the jump perfectly for the ball in stride, but he went up with one arm and couldn't bring the ball in. Afterward he was upset with himself for not making the catch a little easier for himself. "I know I should have gone up with both hands, and I don't know why I tried it with just one," he admits. "That would have been a sweet catch!"
  • The RBs had a good day catching the ball, and Marrero in particular was far improved over his first day of receiving woes. The Floridian went out early onto the practice field Friday to catch some balls before the rest of the practice began, and that paid off.
  • Nick Sanchez had another day of impressive playmaking. He has surprisingly quick feet, but also can get up in the air to defend the ball. If there were questions as to whether he will be a cornerback or a safety, the early returns certainly point to CB.
  • The early report on Brent Newhouse at long snapper is that he is very accurate and gives the punter/holder a nice level ball. But he doesn't have nearly as much pace on his snaps as you would get from someone like Drew Caylor. That will be an area of focus for him.
  • Newhouse is coming out at least a half hour early to practice, along with Jay Ottovegio and Derek Belch. For the second straight day they received individual attention from Buddy Teevens at the start of practice. They also did a little more in the way of kicking than yesterday. Most of the placekicking was done at extra point length, while the punting was done not for distance or hangtime, but instead for filming of their motion and technique.
  • Here are a few weights recorded by some of the freshmen when they reported. They are being weighed every day to make sure nobody is losing too much weight from the physical exertion, but I'll hold these to be current weights. Mikal Brewer: 292; Chris Horn: 250; T.C. Ostrander: 220; David Marrero: 184; Jason Evans: 184; and Evan Moore: 233. Moore also measured 6'6" without shoes, for those wondering about his true height. That gives him at least half an inch on Teyo Johnson, to whom he is most often compared.
  • Fullback Emeka Nnoli is in pads and participated in very few drills today, though maybe a little more than what he did yesterday. That smelled like something medical, and sure enough I have found that Nnoli tested with high blood pressure when he underwent his physical. That's something the medical staff wants to get under control before he is fully cleared for all practice activities.

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