A new addition to the wounded is freshman receiver Alex Van Dyke, who looked like he might have pulled his groin. He had a trainer stretching him on the sideline and then spent the rest of practice on a bike. Ellis McCarthy also spent the entire practice on a bike, and Thomas Duarte also sat out. Zach Whitley was not at practice again. Nate Starks wasn’t at practice, and Craig Lee got sick during the middle of practice, and we were told afterward that both were experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Ishmael Adams, Randall Goforth, Steven Manfro, Roosevelt Davis, Kenny Walker, Mossi Johnson, Adarius Pickett, and Jaleel Wadood all worked at punt returner. Pickett dropped his first attempt, but otherwise he and Wadood looked pretty natural back there. The job does seem like Adams’ to lose though.
Pickett got his first real team action at running back today and he looked good, showing a nice ability to make one cut and get up-field. It’ll be interesting to see if he can crack that top three in the running back rotation.
Devin Lucien had the catch of the practice early, high-pointing a ball over Priest Willis which tipped it in the air, and then managing to pirouette and catch it in the end zone. Lucien looked pvretty lethal in the red zone all day, catching a couple of nice slants for touchdowns as well.
Jaleel Wadood seems to be among the freshmen already making an impact on the team in terms of leadership. At one point, he ran up to Jayon Brown right before the start of a play to slap him on the butt and get him into position. He also seems to have a knack for blowing up swing and screen passes.
With many offensive linemen returning, the line looked like Bunche, Redmond, Jake Brendel, Najee Toran, and Benenoch from left to right. Scott Quessenberry was taking mostly second string center reps.
Nate Iese had two really nice plays today, leaking out of the backfield for an excellent wheel route down the sideline and then catching a beautiful slant from Brett Hundley for a touchdown during red zone drills. If he doesn’t catch a few passes every game, it’d be a bit of a shock.
Matt Dickerson and Ainuu Taua both had good days, with Dickerson knifing into the backfield at a couple of points to pressure the quarterback. Taua seems to be getting much more comfortable, and he plays so low that he gets great leverage on the interior linemen.
Walker again ran a few great routes during practice, but he also dropped a gimme touchdown in the endzone that bounced right off his hands. He has dropped enough balls at this point that we’d have to imagine it’ll limit his usage.
On the quarterback front, Brett Hundley was mostly good, but he did throw a pretty ugly interception to Eric Kendricks toward the end of 7-on-7 where he clearly just didn’t see him standing over the middle. Otherwise, he cut through the skeleton portion of practice better than he usually does, throwing a few comebackers near-perfectly. Asiantii Woulard was just OK throwing the ball today, and had one really odd throw on a 4th and 4 where he sailed the ball about 5 yards over the head of an open receiver in the end zone.
With the team going shoulder pads and shorts this morning, the odds are good that tonight’s practice will be a fun, full-pads practice with plenty of 11 on 11 drills.