Practice Report 3/31

Spring practice continued today with another strong outing by the defense. On the offensive side of the ball, the quarterback battle continued on its course.

It didn't take long for the defense to get back into the rhythm they had on Monday thanks to a quick start today. The early hitting drills had several big hits, most notably from John Saldi, Brock Stratton, and Antonio Huffman. These hitting drills have been a great addition to the drills that the defense already runs in practice. The drills produce a good intensity level that seems to get carried into the rest of practice.

The defensive linemen took the stage in running drills. Fred Thrweatt and Patrice Majondo-Mwamba did an excellent job in the middle. Both players were getting a strong surge, and managed to cause the running backs all kinds of problems in the drill. Keyunta Dawson also played well. The sophomore defensive end has impressive quickness. This quickness makes him a threat to beat the tackle every snap. Addell Duckett was not in pads today, so he didn't participate in the running drills.

Things got heated in the team scrimmage. Brock Stratton and Manuel Ramirez got tangled up and Stratton used his high school wrestling experience to take down the larger Ramirez. This incident was just another in an increasingly long string of flare ups that have come about thanks to the new attitude of the defense. It's one thing to hear the defense talk about proving people wrong, but it's another thing to see the defense actually matching the attitude level of the offense. If the coaches can maintain this attitude, the results should be evident on the field.

The battle to be the starting quarterback took another twist today. Robert Johnson showed much more emotion in today's practice. After four practices that saw Johnson quite as a mouse, the newcomer was very vocal today. Johnson was cheering on his teammates and even talking a little trash. If Johnson is going to be the starting quarterback, he will have to become more vocal on and off the field. One possibility for this newfound emotion could be the tackle by Mike Smith in Monday's practice. Since that hit Johnson has not only been more vocal, he has also shown off his running ability. Johnson certainly has plenty of speed, and if the quarterback race remains as close as it is now, that speed could be the edge that gives Johnson the starting job.

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