9/12 (Thursday) Practice Notes

There is a lot going on in practice this week, including some movers and shakers who are earning more playing time for Saturday's game. Chris Lewis had a notable practice, as did a candidate for the left guard spot. Read on for all this, plus Greg Schindler's injury update and more!

  • Right off the top, I have an injury update on Greg Schindler.  And the news is great.  Buddy Teevens calls his progress "remarkable" and to the point that Greg could play this Saturday if it were really needed.  And surely the fiery competitor in this senior guard wants to go right now.  But the medical evaluation is that he would have the ability to go for maybe just a short stint, with a great downside of really aggravating the injured knee.  Instead, Greg is staying off it this week, and should be back in action for the Arizona State game after this upcoming bye week.  Greg is in fact in such good shape with his recovery that he should be in practice next week...
  • Speaking of recoveries, we are now seeing Justin McCullum without any limitations in practice.  Right now, his hands are impressing me the most.  It will be tough to make up for lost time with all the talented veteran receivers ahead of him right now...
  • The tight end situation is more of a non-story than you think.  Booties have dreamt up all sorts of switches and scenarios, but practice looks pretty darned usual.  Cooper Blackhurst is the guy right now who would be that third TE if need be, but he is spending most of his practice time at fullback still.  Mike Sullivan is still a candidate to act as an extra tight end in situations where solely blocking is needed, so that is something to watch for this fall.
  • Speaking of Cooper, he is one of a few players who Buddy has singled out for a strong week, which will translate into increased playing time this Saturday.  Also includes JR Lemon, Matt Traverso and TJ Rushing.  Rushing and Traverso are also going to get time simply out of a desire to keep the first-string guys ahead of them a little better rested.  90 plays for Leigh Torrence, Stanley Wilson and Alex Smith is not going to work.  Buddy also says that he will "play a bunch of receivers and backs" on Saturday.  We saw deep rotations in the defensive front seven in the BC opener, but now should expect some of that on offense.
  • The other great issue for the offense is clearly Schindler's vacated right guard spot.  Brian Head has been the presumptive starter, but the staff gave Dustin Stimson a look on Thursday just to evaluate what he can do.  And he responded pretty well, with perhaps the best day of protection the O-line has seen this week.  In Buddy's words, "he showed up."  Steve Morton needs to look at film tonight from these practices to determine Saturday's starter, but regardless of that decision, it is a near-guarantee that both of them will play and rotate.
  • Chris Lewis had frankly a rusty week of practices, but Thursday was a tremendous turn-around.  He was hitting his receivers downfield with incredible precision, and you could not walk away from this practice without greatly increased optimism for Saturday's game.  Notable that as the offense and Chris are getting back in synch, the snaps are tremendously dominated by him.  Very little work for Kyle Matter or Ryan Eklund today.
  • With the scout offense, I saw Trent Edwards put up two incredibly sweet balls.  He threaded the needle both times with great ease and precision.  Really impressive stuff.  David Lofton also through a surprising touchdown on a fade pattern with a rush right in his face.  I don't know how he hit that...
  • On defense, David Bergeron is following up his great performance last Saturday with the #1 repetitions at his strongside OLB spot.  The plan is still to rotate the LBs in the game, but David looks like he is back on top, alongside Jake Covault and Michael Craven.

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