8/21 (Wednesday) Afternoon Practice Notes

I'll be honest with you, it's just not as much fun to watch the guys back out of full pads. But alas, Stanford football returned to shorts for this afternoon's practice, and thus was lost the full hitting. So while I watched the trenches this morning, I retreated to the passing game with WRs vs. DBs this afternoon.

  • The offense really picked it up this afternoon. Plays were run with a high degree of precision, to my eyes, for this early in the pre-season. There were two late passing plays that clearly were flubbed, with someone not on the right page, but otherwise crisp stuff. And Buddy commented the same to me after practice. The best throws of the day came from Chris Lewis and Kyle Matter - both put balls in very precise spots to allow the receivers to make tough catches in tight coverage. Matter is indeed looking like #2 in my eyes...
  • Great to see 'Cool Hand' Luke Powell out there. Didn't see him drop a ball this afternoon, and he is running his routes far better than someone in his first couple practices since December. I still think he is best used for intermediate stuff or across the middle right now, though. Go to Nick Sebes to stretch the field the best.
  • Speaking of which, another fine day for Nick the Quick. Gets a couple yards away from any DB on out routes, and he looks so smooth pulling the ball in.
  • Gerren Crochet also looked pretty good today. He doesn't get much pub, but he has another special afterburner that few others on this team have. He just needs the consistency in catching the ball like today to get on the field. But boy is he fast.
  • Teyo Johnson and Calvin Armstrong had a lot of fierce battles today, almost as if they thought it was still rough-and-tumble time from this morning. Teyo had some push-offs, while Calvin had some fists of jersey and pads. I did note an off day for Teyo. I watch what he has done the last few days and really wonder about how many games he has left as a collegian, but then you see some bobbles and drops today and remember he is human. The frustration that wells up in him with those mistakes is like a volcano, though. You can just see him seething.
  • Alex Smith turned in several magical catches once again. Two that stand out: 1) leaps up to grab the ball with both hands stretched out over the defender's head in double coverage; 2) diving catch just off the ground, and holds it while he rolls.
  • A few great defensive plays turned in by OJ Atogwe, TJ Rushing and Calvin Armstrong on really nice pass break-ups. It really tells you something that this August secondary is already putting together more daily break-ups than you would see in a week during the season of practice in year's past. This is a whole new world for Stanford defense...
  • The hit that would have been nasty, in full pads, was from Jason White. He dinged a receiver in the air, but really held back. Would have been crushing had he wanted to. The 'oohs' and 'aahs' were telling.

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