During team drills, Jerry Neuheisel probably had the most success, with the receivers during his reps having more success getting open against the defense. Mike Fafaul got a ton of reps with the ones during the middle portion of practice, but he had one of his worst days of the spring, looking like the wind was cutting into his velocity. Asiantii Woulard had some nice moments, but the consistency just isn't there. With Woulard, when the play is run to perfection in all other aspects, he has no problem making a big throw. The worry is that when plays break down, or a receiver doesn't get off the line on time, or someone misses an assignment, that he doesn't make great decisions, often throwing into coverage or just panicking..
The defense, in general, dominated on Monday, and we've heard the defense was very good on Saturday as well. We're seeing a lot of blitzing so far this spring, with pressure coming from many different spots. A lot of this is probably experimentation, but we'd have to guess we'll see a more aggressive defense this year than we saw at the beginning of last season. Kenny Young and Ishmael Adams both had really nice blitzes today where they made it into the backfield basically untouched.
The secondary looked particularly stout Monday night, with Marcus Rios, Fabian Moreau, and Randall Goforth all looking good in coverage. Moreau has had a really impressive spring, and his ball skills look improved from a year ago.
The pass rush was also good today, and much of it had to do with the exceptional play of Matt Dickerson. Dickerson might be the biggest eye-opener over the last couple of weeks, looking really impressive and explosive rushing from a few different spots. His strength and ability to play with leverage is causing a lot of issues even for first-string offensive linemen. We would bet that he'll be the first lineman off the bench this year, and potentially contend with Takkarist McKinley for a starting spot, even though they're not currently playing the exact same position.
Interestingly, Devin Fuller moved to outside receiver today, and played almost exclusively there during team drills (there were a couple of reps where he was back in the slot). With Fuller moving outside, Mossi Johnson was the first-string slot receiver, and, of course, Johnson had a pretty average day, dropping a couple of passes that hit him in the hands during team drills. Still, we're interested to see how this move works, because we've been big proponents of Johnson getting more playing time.
Paul Perkins was arguably the most impressive player on the field today. Just looking at him, it's hard to imagine him not having a big year. He's bigger physically, but his vision, balance, speed, and strength have all improved. Nate Starks looks every inch the heir to Perkins and had a couple of big runs himself.
On the offensive line, Conor McDermott continued to look like a stud at left tackle. The interior of the line had more issues, though, with Alex Redmond having some trouble in pass protection. In a funny moment on the sideline, Josh Rosen appeared to be either giving or receiving a lesson from Redmond on pass protection, with Rosen demonstrating the footwork.
Eldridge Massington did more today than he did last week, so it looks like he's progressing back from injury. Darren Andrews also was nearly back to a full-go. Priest Willis also was back working with the team. The rest of the injured were much the same, with Alex Van Dyke spending most of practice with Sal Alosi.
We didn't have a great angle during the field goal portion of practice, but from what we could tell, it was a really rough day for the kickers, with Ka'imi Fairbairn and Stefan Flintoft combining to go something like 4 of 15 on field goals. There was quite a bit of wind, but it was definitely not their best day.
2016 LB recruit Darrian Franklin was in attendance today.