Spring Practice Report #6
Glenn January and Keyunta Dawson fought in the opening match, and this clash of the titans ended with January overpowering Dawson and pushing him into the circle of players and fans crowded around. This occurred very near to me while I held RP's expensive camera, but somehow both the camera and I managed to escape unscathed. I regained my composure in time to catch the next battle between the Dannys, that is, Amendola and Charbonet. Amendola appeared to have slightly won the first match, but it was so close that the coaches called for an encore, in which Charbonet looked to have the edge. Overall, the two were very evenly matched, though. The final matchup was between Kelly Hildebrandt and Loy White. Hildebrandt won fairly easily, and the players' emotions following the drill were high throughout the day.
Graham Harrell was not his usual unblemished self today, throwing an interception and not hitting the receivers in stride like he always does. He didn't have a particularly bad day, but he just wasn't deadly accurate, which was a significant deviance from the norm. Harrell also held the ball for bit too long this afternoon, but he did show us something new in his abilities to scramble and throw on the run. Harrell's father and younger brother were in attendance, so perhaps Graham was a bit distracted.
Chris Todd was both hot and cold at times today, in that he would throw an extremely accurate pass and then throw it out of the reach of the receivers. He was both outstanding and mediocre, which averages out to a decent afternoon. Overall, he failed to capitalize on Graham's off day, and thus still trails in the race for starting quarterback.
Ryan Rowland had a good effort today, but he threw the higher percentage short routes more often than the other quarterbacks did. However, he was accurate on those throws, and didn't make the mistakes that the other quarterbacks did. Still, he held on to the ball for too long today, and was sacked several times because of it.
Ryan Krone once again saw reps just in the drills, but his throws were some of the best that I have seen from him thus far. His continuous improvement may just end up paying off in the future.
Harrell 9-12, 113 yards, INT
Todd 10-14, 75 yards
Rowland 5-7, 33 yards
Harrell 6-7, 87 yards, TD
Todd 6-8, 48 yards
Rowland 2-3, 25 yards
Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Harrell 15-19, 200 yards, TD, INT
Todd 16-22, 123 yards
Rowland 7-10, 58 yards
The shovel pass made its first appearance in today's practice, and this looks like it could be extremely dangerous with Woods. Shannon Woods and Pete Richardson got most of the scrimmage reps once again, and did an excellent job. Woods had one juke that was just unfairly evasive, and it evoked quite a reaction from the players, coaches, and fans. Woods also didn't drop any passes to my knowledge this afternoon, so that was nice to see. Judging by the continual reps, it appears that Pete Richardson is sitting second behind Woods. However, that all may change with the arrival of highly-touted recruit Baron Batch. We'll just have to see.
Full Scrimmage Statistics:
Shannon Woods: 4 rushing attempts for 21 yards; 2 catches for 14 yards
Pete Richardson: 7 rushing attempts for 47 yards; 3 catches for 11 yards
The wide receivers had a better day today compared with Wednesday, mainly because the starters stepped up their game in a big way. Jarrett Hicks was pretty unstoppable and made things look easy all afternoon. Also impressive was Robert Johnson, who worked hard and gave the quarterbacks a reliable target all afternoon. He also did a little quarterbacking today, since they ran the double pass twice with much success, but the deep receiver wasn't being defended, so it made things much easier. Johnson's throws were right on the money, though, and I truly wish that this play gets used several times next season. L.A. Reed will undoubtedly see some significant PT next season with the way he is playing. The only touchdown of the day was caught by Catron Houston, who proved his awareness by having the presence of mind to go after a tipped ball and catch it in the open field for an easy score. Filani had an excellent jailbreak screen that went for 20 yards, but did have one tough drop today that was a little discouraging. Kelly Hildebrandt was a workhorse today, and did an excellent job because of it. It seems like there are at least eight guys that play very well from the receiving corps each practice, so depth here is almost a non-issue. Don't mess with AFROS.
Cumulative Practice Statistics:
Jarrett Hicks: 6 catches for 80 yards
Robert Johnson: 6 catches for 73 yards
L.A. Reed: 4 catches for 56 yards
Danny Amendola: 5 catches for 49 yards
Catron Houston: 2 catches for 41 yards, TD
Joel Filani: 3 catches for 39 yards
Kelly Hildebrandt: 3 catches for 36 yards
Todd Walker: 3 catches for 22 yards
Grant Walker: 1 catch for 5 yards
Eric Morris: 1 catch for 4 yards
Chris Cunigan: 1 catch for 3 yards
The offensive line had a tough time handling the defensive lineman today, but they had a tough task today. The highlight of their afternoon came when Brandon Carter absolutely flattened Kellen Tillman, which freed up Pete Richardson for a ten-yard gain. Louis Vasquez continues to play well, as does Josh Aleman. Perhaps most impressive was Glenn January's intensity today, as he dominated his battle to begin practice and got into an altercation with Darcel McBath. This fire might be just what January needs to take his game to the next level. The line did allow several sacks this afternoon, but the quarterbacks were taking too long in the pocket and the defensive line was on top of their game, so this perhaps can be excused.
The defensive line had an exceptional day, which might have had something to do with the return of McKinner Dixon. He practiced today, and may have been that extra something that disrupted the offense today. Jared Williams had two sacks today, and Brian Jones and Tyler Yenzer each recorded a sack of their own. My adopted player Jake Ratliff had a forced fumble on Chris Todd today that was excellent. Chris Hudler and Dek Bake continue to be solid in defending the middle, and overall, the unit is much deeper and more talented than I was expecting.
The linebackers had another remarkable day as well. Keyunta Dawson is the real deal, getting a pass deflection, a sack, and providing solid coverage throughout the afternoon. Fletcher Session also was imposing in coverage today, deflecting two passes. There was also a welcome surprise with a newcomer by the name of Ryan Hale. He made a name for himself by recording two pass deflections and a TFL today. He will be one to watch for in the future. Also noteworthy was the effort that Jamequinlon McGill put forth today. He is one player who can provide the linebacking corps with even greater depth. With Dixon hopefully filling in Keyunta's spot on the D-line, the linebackers look extremely capable of surprising a few teams next year.
The defensive backs did an excellent job working with the linebackers in coverage, and thus made the quarterbacks struggle to find open targets with their collective effort. Particularly impressive was the effort of transfer Daniel Charbonnet. He made a great play reading Graham Harrell and getting an INT today, and looks capable of providing the secondary with some much-needed depth. Anthony Hines continued his solid play, which is good to see with Joe Garcia not practicing again today. Garcia again attended the entire practice, but was there only as a bystander. He is not in any sort of brace, cast, or other apparati that would indicate a serious injury, so we hypothesize that his injury is something minor like a pulled hamstring or something along those lines. Loy White appeared to be frustrated today, and got in a fight with Edward Britton. White just had a tough day all around. Also, Fuller might have lost some ground on his starting spot today, as there were a few times when he looked indecisive in coverage. Still, the consistently skilled play of Hines and Darcel McBath eases some of the worries here, and we haven't even seen the great players we have coming in this fall.
Best Overall Unit:
Best Individual Performance: (tie)
Best Newcomer: (tie)