Well, this will easily be my shortest practice notes this spring. Friday was a day in shorts for the boys in cardinal and white, and there was one great story that jumped out from practice: Grant Mason.
#82 was about as dominant as a receiver can be on the field, including one scrimmage scoring drive where he caught just about every ball marching down the field, including a beautiful toss from Ryan Eklund in the back corner of the endzone. Grant was running the best routes of the day, and received some very enthusiastic praise from David Kelly. To top it off, he showed off the best catch of the day, a full laid-out diving grab that he scooped just off the ground with his two hands. Grant was in a zone today for sure, but he's also been showing well throughout the past two weeks. Given that "Cool Hand" Luke Powell is still on the sidelines in the yellow jersey, Grant Mason looks like the receiver right there with Teyo Johnson at the head of this group. I'm impressed.
Teyo also showed off his hands today, including one near-grab in the endzone. He lept up in the back corner (vintage Teyo) and grabbed it off-balance with just one hand. The defender knocked the ball away when he came down, but he's going to score points on those plays more often than not.
Casey Moore, who had a couple of tough drops last season, is quietly showing that he can handle the widened scope needed of him this fall. He's running routes and hauling in those balls, but more importantly is the toughest guy on the team to bring down after the catch. Justin Faust also showed a nice run today, with a sidestep in the backfield and some good speed into the defensive backfield.
For what it's worth, Eric Johnson had some of the best booming punts I've seen from him in a long time. Three in a row carried deep with excellent hangtime. He has the leg at times, but needs to get consistent. Although, the problem with the punting game today was the long snapping.
Chris Lewis showed off another dimension to his game with some excellent play action today. He can sell it.
On the offensive line, I watched Paul Weinacht pull, and was reminded of Eric Heitmann. Paul may not be as quick, but he can move... and still lay a stiff block.
Leigh Torrence was the standout defensive back of the day, showing the most aggressive play. He occasionally gets early to the ball, but he's making a lot of plays. He drew a noticeable "atta boy" from Buddy on one pass break-up, and appears to be the corner most benefiting from the new defensive scheme.