Today's practice was an eventful one. After a slow start getting drills out of the way, things started heating up between the offense and defense beginning with 7-on-7.
It began as just a little physicality, as a few hard hits happened, including Anthony Hines sending Jarrett Hicks to the turf, and then Brandon Douglas surprisingly laying out Paul Williams. Then it got interesting. First Brock Stratton & walk-on receiver Michael Dorsey (#87) got into a scuffle following a play, then Hicks and Antonio Huffman got into it after another play, and a near all-out brawl ensued that involved a good two-thirds of the team. Fortunately some of the older players almost immediately started yelling at everyone to control themselves and they all calmed down and lined up for the next play. Coach Leach had a few choice words to say about the "event" that are a bit too colorful to quote here in this report. They had pretty much calmed down until the team scrimmage started, when Jared Williams and Glenn January laid into each other pretty roughly. They were broken up as quickly as possible by their fellow linemen. The only other scuffle that occured was when Fletcher Session shoved Robert Johnson after a play, but they were also quickly broken up. The last one was probably the most ridiculous, as Johnson did nothing to provoke Session, as Coach Holgersen loudly reminded Session.
The defense definately came out of today's practice shining brightest, as they shook, rattled, and rolled the offense for the majority of the team scrimmage. The only QB that seemed to do well against the defense today was Cody Hodges, which should be a good sign, it hopefully shows that he plays well under pressure. And believe me, the defense was definately applying the pressure today. They blitzed constantly, including bone-crushing safety blitzes with Vincent Meeks and Dwayne Slay. In drills, the receivers were pretty much schooling the defensive backs, but when it came time for the team scrimmage, the defense clamped down on the offense. I think the goal line part of the scrimmage was the most impressive for the defense. They constantly denied the offense any running room, and played good defense on the pass, only allowing one touchdown on a nice throw from Phillip Daugherty to Dorsey. Walk-on cornerback Clifton Eddington hammered Taurance Rawls to the turf on a run play that fired up the defense more than I've seen all spring. Eddington, I would say, is easily the most impressive walk-on out there on the field, and will see some decent playing time this upcoming season. Marcus Bunton is also starting to come on strong, as he played very well for his size and inexperience in 1-on-1 drills, and he had an interception off of walk-on quarterback Ryan Rowland on a beautiful break on the ball. He broke on the ball so fast it was almost a blur, and it would have easily been 6 points the other way in a game situation. SirDon Lewis also had an impressive leaping interception in front of Joel Filani on the final play of the team scrimmage. Jared Williams is starting to impress the coaches very much, he recorded a nice sack on Hodges today, beating Daniel Christian on a nice swim move. With his size and meanness, he's going to be a really good end for us in the next few years.
A few notes:
· Taurean Henderson was again missing from practice today. From what I've heard, he was missing Mondays and Wednesdays in order to concentrate on his studies, so have no fear Tech fans, he will be out there on Saturday.
· Quarterback signee Chris Todd was in attendance at today's practice with his father and younger brother (who I might add, has a nice arm and a tight spiral for a kid his age, he looks no more than 12 years old - no joke!) who was playing catch with one of the assistants during drills.
· Joe Garcia & Darcel McBath both remain out with injuries (Garcia - ankle, McBath - broken arm)
· Graham Harrell was at practice today again in an orthapedic boot and crutches. I am now hearing that it was a severe sprain and not a break, but reports are conflicting.
· Chris Hudler & Randall Cherry both continue to be held out of practice to nurse offseason injuries, but both are running and looking fine, I'm sure it's just precaution.
A few photos:
Robert Johnson receiving a little coaching from Coach Holgersen
Jarrett Hicks beating Khalid Naziruddin downfield
Quarterback signee Chris Todd chatting with tight end Rylan Reed