Coming off the Saturday scrimmage and starting the final week of fall camp, the depth chart at most positions is being finalized.
Also, it was a pleasant surprise to see so many veterans back on the field. Jeff Fuller, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Rhontae Scales, Terrence Frederick, and Cyrus Gray were working at full strength.
In fact, I thought Gray looked as sharp as I've seen him in practice in 11-on-11 live drills. He made several players miss on two runs that went for 15-20 yards that drew praise from Coach Jordan. In fact, it was a great day for the veteran running backs. In the red zone special category segment, C-Mike made a slick move juking a defender as he hit the corner and dove ball-first into the end zone on a 20 yard TD run. He gave two to the chest and one to the sky while Coach Jordan in full sprint ran to the end zone to congratulate his RB and also to let the defense know that his RB is good.
So it was a good day for the running backs. The same can't be said of the QB's who are having a hard time with the secondary. The team started the practice with a live 11-on-11 session and Ryan Tannehill promptly threw an intermediate out-route that hit Dustin Harris in the numbers on an overthrow.
Two plays later, Jameil Showers also tried to throw Dustin Harris' way going up top to Mike Evans. This time, it was Harris that disrupted Evans' route and made the INT. It's hard to credit Showers for that one. Evans should have been more physical against the 177-pound (McMillian calls out his weight every day during stretches) Harris, and Harris made one savvy play going up against the bigger receiver.
Harris didn't stop on the defensive side. He also caught 2-3 passes including a very nice catch with his hands on an intermediate route over the middle. Coach Sherman said after practice that Harris gives them some speed to stretch the field, and even said Harris is the fastest receiver on the roster.
Overall, the defense continues to gain the upper-hand in live 11-on-11 drills. The QB's are simply having a hard time finding open receivers downfield, and the pass rush is improving with guys like Demontre Moore, Sean Porter, and Tyrell Taylor making noise in the offensive backfield. If anybody thought Taylor's performance in Saturday's scrimmage was a fluke, you only have to look at one play (with the first team I may add) where he completely beat Luke Joeckel on an wicked inside move. Even as a freshman, Joeckel could get a hand on Von Miller and slow him down a little on most plays. For the second time this fall, Taylor has completely made Joeckel miss...the only two times I've seen him miss in his college career.
Taylor got most of his reps with the second team but in the red zone special category period he was the rush OLB w/ the first team. He'll contribute in special rush situations this season, but he has the chance to be special with another 15-20 pounds in the future.
After a couple of early mediocre practices where Moore appeared distracted and upset that he was demoted for his offseason behavior, he has really turned it around and is playing with confidence on the field and not being a distraction on the sidelines.
Also, anybody concerned about Tony Jerod-Eddie's foot...don;t be. He returned at full strength and he was living in the offensive backfield and he had his way with guard Shep Klinke.
So here's what the starting units are looking like now that the coaches are out of teaching mode and into "getting ready for the season" mode.
1. Ryan Tannehill
2. Jameil Showers
3. Matt Joeckel
4. Johnny Manziel (he had his best practice today working with the fourth team)
1. Cyrus Gray
1b.. Christine Michael
3. Still unknown (Jones or Malena)
1. Fuller, Swope, Nwachukwu
2. Askew, McNeal/Kennedy, Jackson
3. Evans, Labhart/Nelson, Gardner
1. Mike Lamothe
2. Hutson Prioleau
3. Nehemiah Hicks
1. Matthews, Klinke, Lewis, Thomas, Joeckel
2. Hyde, Harrison, Baker, Eike, Ogbuehi
3. Cheek, Gramling, Compton, Villaviscencio, Gutekunst
1. Jerod-Eddie, Ennis, Mathis
2. Nealy, Brown, Bass
3. Robinson, Barrera, Stansbury
4. Scales, Wolridge, Hatten
1. Porter, ?, ?, ?
2. ?, ?, ?, ?
3. ?, ?, ?, ?
This is the one big question mark in terms of who will start. Sherman said today that nobody outside of Sean Porter has separated themselves and he's waiting for a couple of guys to step up and earn the job. I think it would be a surprise not to see Garrick William out there with the first unit. Had you asked me a week ago about joker, I'd say it was Caleb Russell's job but with Russell missing practices with an illness and the emergence of Moore, this spot is up for grabs.
Also, I think any one of Donnie Baggs, Charlie Thomas, and Jonathan Stewart could get that last inside spot. Steve Jenkins is also on the edge of the race. On the outside, it appears that Brandon Alexander and Tyrell Taylor have edged ahead of Shaun Ward but all three could play in 2011. If someone redshirts, it could be Ward.
1. Hunter, Campbell, Judie, Frederick
2. Terrell, Matthews, Smith, Harris
3. Franklin, Swope, Hurd, THompson/Raven
Finally, Randy Bullock was out again today with a leg strain. You have to wonder why special teams specialists are getting hurt so much...snakebit or not?
Websider Daily Practice Report - 8/22
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