"The short tempers are starting to flair a little," Head Coach Karl Dorrell said. "But that's typical of camp. But I'm very appreciative of the effort overall."
Junior Paul Mociler is spending more time with the starting offensive line, and Dorrell conceded after practice that Mociler has "a slight edge" over senior Shane Lehmann at this stage in winning the starting right guard position.
Starting defensive tackles Ryan Boschetti and Rodney Leisle lined up together for the first time with the first-string defensive line. Sophomore C.J. Niusulu and freshman Kevin Brown made up the second string defensive tackles, with Thomas Patton still out.
Starting weakside linebacker Spencer Havner continued to sit out the scrimmage sessions due to a slightly pulled hamstring, as did starting strongside backer Brandon Chillar, due to a "concussive syndrome" he experienced during yesterday's practice. Neither is expected to miss a great deal of time, with the coaching staff again stating that they're coming down on the precautionary, conservative side with early, small injuries.
Running backs Akil Harrris and Maurice Drew had some concussion-like symptoms today and sat out a majority of practice. Sophomore starting middle linebacker gave Maurice Drew a pop in a scrimmage session, which kept Drew on the ground for a moment. Wendell Mathis, who had been having a very good camp, pulled up in a pre-practice drill with a pulled calf muscle, but Dorrell said it was nothing serious.
Joe Tomasello, the JC transfer longsnapper, hasn't reported to camp as of yet. A UCLA spokesperson has attributed it to a "paperwork issue," and he will not participate in the camp at Cal State Fullerton. It's uncertain as to when he will report. If Tomasello can long snap, it would be very good to have him. During a punting drill longsnappers Riley Jondle and Douglas Edward struggled, with one snap not only sailing over the punter but over the crowd of fans behind the punter.
The offense, particulary the offensive line, performed very well in the first half of practice. In the first scrimmage session, the OL opened up significant holes against the first-team defense on the first three plays, firing up the players and the coaches. Tyler Ebell exploded through a good hole, and Manuel White blew through a nice crease on the left-hand side of the line. The good play of the OL might not be directly attributable to Paul Mociler playing with the starting OL, but it does coincide.
Matt Moore had a better day than Drew Olson at quarterback, with Moore not only getting the most reps but doing the most with them. Moore didn't throw the ball deep too much, but was accurate in his short throws, and was very good in finding the open receiver. Moore, in one stretch, looked very in command of the offense, capping a good series with a nice, over-the-middle delayed throw that took some touch to J.J. Hair. Olson didn't have a bad day, but wasn't as successful at putting the ball in the hands of the receivers. Moore did, though, take what would probably have been at least three sacks over the course of five plays in the last 11-on-11 scrimmage of the day.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis had an up-and-down day. He made some great, off-balance, in-traffic catches, but then dropped a couple of very catchable balls. He is, though, getting the ball thrown at him quite a bit, and later attributed it to the new offense, which practically makes "the tight end the number one option."
As the day wore on, the defense made a comeback against the offense, stiffening up on the run toward the end of the last scrimmage session. The defense, to its, well, defense, was without two of its star linebackers Havner and Chillar, and gave up some yards on the ground to the O. Manuel White found room throughout the day, on handoffs and flair passes, as did Tyler Ebell.
The defensive surge at the end of practice was mostly led by the aggressive back seven. The defensive backs tightened up their coverage, with Matt Clark making some good breaks on passes, being very aggressive on coverage, and pounding Ebell on an end run.
Some other good defensive plays:
Middle linebacker Dennis Link standing up Manuel White on a run.
Another Possible Walkon?
Observing practice was an ex-Cal State Northridge player, 6-2, 300-lb. defensive tackle Charles Thompson. Thompson said he's trying to get his paperwork cleared to join the team as soon as possible. He could have four years of eligibility to play three.