After a few spirited one on ones between the offensive linemen and defense linemen, the two sides broke off for a game that seemed like a combination of rugby, football and ultimate Frisbee.
There were no downs, but forward passes were allowed and there was no limit on player movement once they had the ball. Not surprisingly, the linemen struggled catching passes and throwing accurately, but that didn't stop trash talking and exuberant celebrations. The defense ended up with the upper hand, with Geoff Meinken earning this reporter's MVP award for an above average arm and quick release and superior cherry-picking skills. The second year player capitalized on the "no offside" rule to score a number of touchdowns.
Other Notes and Observations
-It's becoming clear that despite the loss of Toby Gerhart, Andrew Luck will not lack for weapons. Zach Ertz has been one of the best offensive skill players in the team tech workouts, using his large frame and sticky hands to get the better of defenders. Ertz, and Levine Toilolo (who has also looked impressive) will join an already formidable tight end rotation of Konrad Reuland and Coby Fleener. While all four of the tight ends (along with Ryan Hewitt, who has looked good catching passes as an h-back) look ready to see the field, it could be a challenge to give them all adequate playing time.
-The usual suspects have been impressive at receiver. Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu look sharp heading into fall camp, while Jamal-Rashad Patterson and Griff Whalen seem likely to earn playing time in supporting roles. I've also been pleasantly surprised by Doug Baldwin. He's a great athlete, consistently gets open, and hasn't dropped many passes. It will be interesting to see if Baldwin is able to see the field more often in his senior year.
After practice was over, I caught up with freshman defensive lineman Henry Anderson as well as a trio of kicking specialists.
So obviously these off-season workouts are about conditioning, getting everybody prepared for the start of fall camp. What's your goal as specialists?
Zach Nolan: It's really just a chance for us to get a lot of work in we come out here and focus basically and just try to do what we can to make ourselves better.
Daniel Zychlinski: And as a punter I'm thankful I have Zach here to always snap and work with us so we can perfect our craft.
So you punters are out here trying to get better but also competing with each other for a job heading into fall camp?
David Green: We've been competing for the last few years.
Either of you want to say you have the upper hand in the competition?
DG: We both have the upper hand.
DZ:I don't know if it would be the upper hand, maybe the upper foot.
What kind of stuff do you guys work on? Is it just coming out here, getting reps and keeping your legs strong?
DG: Just come out here every day getting a little bit better at the same thing. Try to focus on one thing and get a little better.
Is there anything specific that you guys are working on?
DZ: It's mostly technique based during the summer because we don't want to over kick.
ZN: A lot of team tech [workouts] is also the mental thing. I feel like the field goals we do at the end, that's like game situation for me. I try to picture myself being in the game with the crowd noise coming in. It's good to get that practice.
How do you go about perfecting your long snapping? Is that just about reps?
Zach Nolan: Snapping is just rep after rep after rep and just getting more consistent all the time and just working at it.
Post-Team Tech Interview with Freshman DL Henry Anderson
How has it been adjusting to life here out at Stanford?
It's been nice. The first few weeks were kind of tough but the upperclassmen have really helped us out. Coming me and Eddie [Plantaric] in we didn't really know too much about the defense but all the upperclassmen defensive linemen have really helped us out. The freshmen class is really close as a group so its really nice.
Are you rooming with Eddie?
No, I'm rooming with Cole [Underwood]. We're pretty close now but it's really like the whole freshman class is all friends, so it's good.
It seemed like the offensive and defensive lines had some fun today playing some sort of football/rugby combination game. What was that?
(Laughing) I think it was called like fat ball or something but it was basically ultimate Frisbee with a football. We beat the offensive linemen pretty bad but it was fun to have a little fun out at team tech.
If you had to nominate an MVP of the game who would you select?
(Laughing)I'd say probably Ben [Gardner]. Ben would always sit out in the end zone and wait for someone to bomb it out to him so Ben caught a few touchdowns.
Looked like Geoff Meinken was doing work out there, too?
On the field how do you feel like you're fitting in with everyone in terms of strength, speed, technique wise?
Yeah, I think strength wise its getting there. I'm not as strong as I'd like to be but [strength coaches] Tolbert and Coach Turley are definitely helping us out. Speed, I'm definitely conditioned running in Atlanta when it's 95 degrees and humid and coming out here it's a lot easier to do conditioning. So I think I'm set conditioning wise. Speed is there but I would like to get a little bit faster. Coach Turley and Coach Tolbert definitely help us out a lot. The whole freshman class looks really good right now, I think.
Have you encountered any surprises adjusting to life out here?
Not really. It's just managing your time I guess. Because you have running in the morning, workouts in the afternoon, practice at night and then you have study halls on the nights you don't have practice so it's just managing that time.
I'm guessing you're taking two classes? How are they going?
Yeah, I'm taking sports psychology and international relations. I had a midterm today and a midterm yesterday and both those went well.
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