It was a quiet second spring workout Saturday morning. Let me clarify. No big news from today's workout. It is always very loud at a Sumlin practice. It's early and there's no live 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work while we are there. It's the same 15 minutes of warm-up drills, so you have to temper some of the conclusions you see in the various practice reports on the Internet.
Along the OL, Jermaine Eluemunor was rotating with Avery Gennesy at first team right tackle. Gennessy took a bulk of the snaps in drills, but Eluemunor did get reps with the first unit. Everybody else with the OL group worked the same rotation as yesterday. No surprises or moves, which you wouldn't expect at this early stage.
In drills, the first DL group is Julien Obioha, Justin Manning, Zaycoven Henderson, and Tyrell Taylor. I wouldn't take away much from that. Several players are injured (Robinson, Hall) and you have Golden dealing with his off-field issues. Plus, this was just drill work, not live 11-on-11 action. Henderson is a spark plug with a lot of energy and athleticism. The staff also worked Henderson as a blocker in the backfield with the punter on the punt team. He's so wide, rushers will have a hard time getting past him.
I focused most of my time with the linebackers today. My overall opinion of the group is that I think the position should improve over last year, but frankly the overall size and athleticism doesn't meet upper-division standards yet. Now, this is without Darian Claiborne, Tommy Sanders, and the incoming freshmen LB's. That's not to say that I didn't see promising prospects. If you ask me, the best combination of athleticism and size is TCU transfer A.J. Hilliard. He looks ready to play physically, and he was very agile and loose in the hips in drill work that focuses on twisting and dropping in coverage. I estimate he's about 6-foot-2+, 230-pounds. Next on the latter that I think has a chance to be a good ball player based on drills is Shaan Washington. I think he's a legitimate 6-foot-3 and 220+ pounds.
Jordan Mastrogiovanni didn't look bigger. He did a solid job in drill work. He's smaller than both Hilliard and Washington. Reggie Chevis continues to practice with a lot of energy and pep in his step. He's good in drills that tests lower body flexibility in the knees and he has nice explosion in downhill running. Where he struggled mightily was in the "hips drill" that required players to twist and turn as they drop in coverage. He's very stiff in the hips and has difficulty turning fluidly. Chevis has gotten in better shape and is more defined and has lost the extra baby fat he had last fall. He will do well in pure run support where he can run downhill. Ask him to drop in coverage and he will struggle. In fact, you can even see it in my still photos that I'm downloading now and will be posted after the basketball game this evening.
I still think preferred walk-on Justin Bass is a D-1 athlete and frankly worthy of a scholarship over some of the players on the team that do have a full ride. I'd place Bass' abilities and athleticism in the middle of the pack within the LB group.
Again, these observations are strictly based on athleticism as seen in drills, not live action. None of these observations takes into account instincts and mental aspects of the game.
Websider Spring Practice Report - Day 2
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