Today's report is a culmination of my observations from the first 20 minutes of media access and also another source who was able to stay and watch the rest of the practice session. He just gave me some general observations, but very insightful observations.
The team was in shells and helmets for the first time today, and the team ran it's first live 11-on-11 during the media period. Here's the rotations from what I could see:
1st Team Offense
WR Evans, Holmes, Kennedy, Walker
OL Matthews, Harrison, Matthews, Ifedi, Ogbuehi
1st Team Defense
DT Ennis, Williams
DE Tyrell Taylor, Stansbury
LB Jenkins, Baggs, Sanders (last play)
DB Harris, Everett, Matthews, Raven, Hurd (Nickel)
2nd Team Offense
WR Pope, Gonzalez, LaRue, Williams
OL Stuckey, Gramling, Compton, Klinke, Cheek
RB Trey Williams (Hicks H-back)
2nd Team Defense
DT Manning, Walker
DE Hall, Tyrone Taylor
LB Bass, Sanders
DB Jacobs, Sezer, Ellis, Moeller, Hunnicutt
In his first live 11-on-11 action in shells, Johnny Manziel stood in the pocket and fired a short completion to Sabian Holmes and another to Mike Evans before throwing a nicely delivered 30-yard pass in the seam to Holmes for the quick TD. Three plays and a score.
After splitting second team reps with Matt Joeckel earlier in the week, Matt Davis took all snaps with the 2nd team throughout practice, and in the 11-on-11 drill as well. He completed a pass to Gonzalez over the middle, handed off to Trey Williams twice, and then scrambled for a first down before giving way to the field goal team.
My source said he watched the QB's closely all afternoon, and in his opinion Manziel has indeed taken his game and his passing to a new level, much like he did last year. He's making quicker reads, throwing with more velocity, and has a complete command of the offense. Based on the three-play TD drive and 30-yad TD pass I saw, I'm not one to disagree.
He also said that Matt Davis showed much better footwork and he's throwing a more consistent, hard pass with good spin. He felt Kevin Murray had made good strides with Davis and his performance was a pleasant surprise. He also said that based on what he saw and based on the reps distributed, Davis is already the clear-cut No. 2. He said Matt Joeckel was solid, yet unspectacular. He saw some potential in Kenny Hill but he's not close to challenging Davis yet.
He felt much better about the QB situation after observing both Johnny Manziel and Matt Davis. I reminded him that the defense was still inserting packages and they weren't blitzing today. Davis' previous issues have been decision-making, so when Snyder starts blitzing in live drills and scrimmages, we'll get a good judge of Davis.
The receivers as a whole continue to impress. Quiv and LaRue were the newcomers that jumped into the two-deep for the live 11-on-11's and in the next week I think you'll see more. It's a very crowded and competitive unit....by far the deepest and most talented receiver unit in program history and it's not even close.
The biggest news from the defensive rotation was seeing Tyrell Taylor working the rush DE spot along with Gavin Stansbury on the other side. The staff continues to go slowly with Julien Obioha in live drills, although he's fully participating in other drills without limitation.
With the second unit, Justin Manning and Hardreck Walker held their own in the live drills, but it's clear they still need to develop some rush moves as they are bull rushing and not making much progress against the 2nd unit. It's going to take time, but the size, athleticism, and potential are there.
I still want to see more of the linebackers and defensive backs before providing my detailed analysis to date. What was evident on Wednesday is that the staff is giving Tommie Sanders as many reps as he can handle. He worked some with both the first and second units.
Websider Practice Report No. 3
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