We may have achieved a little more clarity in the quarterback competition today. Brett Hundley had one of his better days of practice, and Richard Brehaut was generally average. But for the second straight practice, Kevin Prince struggled mightily. He was simply off for most of the day, commonly overthrowing over the middle, and throwing behind on crossing patterns. He only had one interception that I saw, but he threw quite a few that bounced off defenders' hands, in both 11 on 11, and during individual periods. The interception was pretty egregious too, leading Jerry Johnson on a slant way too far and allowing Aaron Hester to easily make the pick.
Right now, just given his play over the past couple of weeks, you have to figure that he's running third at this point. That's not to say he can't make a comeback, but he's struggled making a lot of throws during team drills over the past couple of days.
Of course, it's difficult to tell if the coaches agree, because snaps are still more or less split evenly. Hundley looked quite good today, aside from a couple of miscues during 1 on 1's. He also had one of the nicer leadership moments I've seen in practice this year.
During the first period of 11 on 11, a fight broke out between several offensive and defensive players. Coach Mora, who has close to a zero tolerance policy for serious fights, had the team run five "gassers" (basically sprints) across the field. Albert Cid is typically the one bringing up the rear, and Mora got in his ear, largely because he also had a role in the fight. After the third time across field, Cid started to really struggle, so Hundley ran over to him and started jogging next to him, shouting encouragement into his ear the entire way, and Cid sped up. It was really one of those moments where you were waiting for a guy to come over to help Cid, and Hundley just naturally did it.
In injury news, Isaiah Bowens looked like he hit his knee on someone's helmet during 11 on 11, and was taken off the field. Mora said afterward that it was a knee sprain, but he had no idea about the severity. Coach Ulbrich threw his hat down when he saw that Bowens was injured, and you can see why. If Bowens is out for any length of time, the linebackers are going to be significantly more depleted. During the remainder of 11 on 11, Ryan Hofmeister and Jared Koster were figuring prominently with the 1's, and they didn't exactly distinguish themselves.
Torian White and Shaquelle Evans also sat out practice. According to Mora, White had a hip or groin issue. Evans was out with a groin injury. With White out, Brett Downey moved back to working with the 1's, and Ben Wysocki and Michael Padovese were the tackles with the second string.
Greg Capella was back, fully practicing with the 2's at right guard. Afterward, Mora said that they want to get him some time at both guard and center to give them flexibility along the front. Kody Innes was at center with the second string, and Jacob Brendel snapped with the 1's.
Again, there were a lot of situational drills during practice. The punt team again practiced several different situational punts, from the blocked punt to various down and distance situations. Also, the team practice again against empty defenses or offenses for end of game situations, where they'd need to take a knee or center the ball for a field goal.
Jerry Johnson continues to make the previous coaching staff look woefully mistaken about his ability to contribute. He has been, by far, the most impressive receiver in camp, not only because of the plays he makes, but because of how far ahead he is from where anyone expected him to be. He made a catch today over Sheldon Price in the corner of the end zone that looked like a magic trick, plucking the ball with one hand from behind Sheldon's back as the two were falling out of the corner of the end zone. The battle between Price and Johnson was something to watch today, as they were matched up together frequently during team drills and during 1 on 1's. Johnson probably got the best of it, but Price got one of his own, breaking up much the same play on a throw about five snaps later.
Joe Roberts ended practice going two of four on field goals, with none of the low line drive kicks from Tuesday. He probably won't be an option in the fall if Ka'imi Fairbairn can acclimate to college kicking fairly quickly.
Johnathan Franklin, who we haven't talked about much because he's been so consistently, quietly good, had an exceptionally good practice today, breaking off a couple of big runs during 11 on 11. Malcolm Jones continued to work at several spots in the back field, and showed some good blocking on a couple of runs, including one that sprang Steven Manfro for a big gain.
Practice Notes, Mora Quotes
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