- The first thing I noted about the first bowl practice actually came while I ducked into Maples as the football team was stretching to begin practice. I saw Teyo running fast-break drills up and down the floor with the basketball team, where he stayed for the duration of the afternoon. Yes, Teyo Johnson was permitted to partake in a basketball practice in conflict with the first of seven football practices at Stanford for the football team, pre-Seattle. I was at least moderately surprised that Tyrone would let Teyo play in three basketball games heading into the Seattle Bowl, increasing exposure to injury for his most valuable receiver. But for TW to let his football scholarship star take basketball practice over football practice was, well, shocking to me. I can draw two conclusions from this: 1) Tyrone is living up to every bit of his promise when he recruited Teyo to let him fully exercise a two-sport experience at Stanford. Pretty darned commendable, and says volumes about Tyrone's and Stanford's commitment to a two-sport athlete on the Farm. 2) Given the slick conditions and very difficult footing on the practice field Wednesday, Teyo probably faced less risk of injury in Maples on that day. I doubt #2 was a decision-making fact relative to #1, but it is worth noting.
- Speaking of the footing, the DBs appeared to have a tougher time making cuts and adjustments Wednesday, while the receivers fared better. The one exception was Ruben Carter, who still delivered remarkable blanket coverage throughout drills. The gap between "Hurricane" Carter and the rest of the cornerbacks is signficant. I did see Leigh Torrence make a few nice plays, and Garry Cobb played well. As a note to Coy Wire's future at safety in the NFL, he looked awfully good in pass coverage in a few drills.
- One of my goals in looking at these December practices is to evaluate some of the younger players who will be needed in more prominent (or starting) roles next season. Within the receiver group, I saw a few strong performances from younger wideouts. Greg Camarillo had a very intense and impressive day, while Grant Mason and Justin McCullum were close behind.
- I also watched linebackers in footwork drills and in 11-on-11 situations. I tried to look for individuals who would most closely match the abilities and skillset that Coy Wire provides today, but without any luck. This is another significant gap. I will commend Michael Craven for some good looking speed and instincts in lateral pursuit. I also like the fast feet of Jon Alston. He's one to watch. There will be a serious drop-off in replacing Coy, but I think the stage is set to upgrade speed in replacement of #51 and #52.
- For those who don't get out to practices, Amon Gordon works out exclusively with the defensive line/defensive ends. No work with the LBs whatsoever.
- This will come as a great disappointment to some, but there were zero discernable position switches I observed. Schimmelman is still at safety; Royster is still at WR, as are Mason and Crochet; nobody has jumped from the DL to the OL.
- The general health of this team is quite encouraging. Kerry Carter is in pads and fully participated with the 1st string offense. Austin Lee is in pads and participated partially with the defense. Matt Leonard and Trey Freeman went all-out. The notable walking wounded are now limited to Simba Hodari (great to see him at practice, even tossing the ball around, though out of pads), Calvin Armstrong (making improvement, including running well, though out of pads) and Mark Anderson (moves around well, though still out of pads).
- The one real piece of bad news on the injury front actually came during Wednesday's practice - Zack Quaccia left the practice field on the cart, unable to walk under his own power. I didn't see the injury, but the outlook isn't good.
- So here's the curious part: despite the best health on the DL since August or September, Drew Caylor is sticking at DE. Why he isn't moving back to the OL is questionnable, to put it gently.
- FYI, Brian Head worked out at center, and he looks promising. Watching him go at it with OJ Oshinowo is a lot of fun.
- A huge chunk of the coaching staff is unsurprisingly on the road recruiting. Schuler, Preston, Miles, Denbrock and McDonnell were all absent.
- Other notes from more up-and-comers: JR Lemon had several outstanding runs; Kevin Schimmelman showed very good coverage, but failed to make a play on the ball several times; Ryan Eklund and Kyle Matter both looked very composed and threw a lot of good balls Wednesday.
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