Practice: Moore Gets More

Even having an average day at practice Tuesday morning, Matt Moore got most of the reps and worked with the #1 offense. Here's a rundown of practice, including a live 11-on-11 scrimmage...

As of today, the only starting position left up for grabs is quarterback.

Head Coach Karl Dorrell has said in the last couple of days that Paul Mociler has won the starting right guard position and Ryan Smith has secured the starting wide receiver spot.

He did emphasize, though, that Junior Taylor is practically a third starter, with how much this offense will use three wide receivers at one time.

That leaves the quarterback position. At practice this morning, though, you wouldn't think that the starting position was still left open with how many reps Matt Moore received and how often he worked with the #1 offense.

Dorrell still acknowledges that Moore is in "the driver's seat," but tried to downplay that the decision had been made. "Both of them are still making some errors," he said. "It's not a done deal."

Today, in fact, Olson might have had a slightly better practice than Moore overall. In the early drills, Moore was a bit off at times, while Olson's ball was sharper.

In the practice-ending 11-on-11 live scrimmage, Moore worked exclusively with the #1 offense while Olson only had a few reps with the #2 offense. In that scrimmage, Moore operated the offense solidly, moving it down the field from about his own 30 yard line to a touchdown. It wasn't a pretty drive, failing mostly on first and second downs to then be bailed out by a series of drive-saving third downs. The drive, in fact, was stopped by the defense at one point, when on a third-and-long, Moore was under a heavy rush and had to dump an incomplete pass out into the flat. The #1 offense started over with a new first down, and then drove the rest of the field. On one third and 17, on a blitz, Moore adjusted, found Marcedes Lewis on a post pattern for a 30+ yard completion. Moore then completed a 6-yard out to Idris Moss and then a 4-yard touchdown pass to Junior Taylor underneath the coverage.

The running game struggled a bit on the drive. Tyler Ebell was the exclusive tailback, but he was stuffed on a few runs but the stingy D.

The #1 defense looked very good in the scrimmage. Havner tipped a Moore pass and almost intercepted it. Rodney Leisle had a couple of nice run stuffs and a sack. He also, on a stunt, bulled over big offensive tackle Ed Blanton. Asi Faoa made a tackle for no gain on Ebell.

Olson, in only a couple of reps with the #2 offense, had his drive killed when he completed a pass to Matt Slater, only to have the ball wrestled away by Keith Short for an interception. Practice ended on that play.

Overall, it's getting clear that the offense will emphasize a short, quick passing game, and Moore and the offense are getting better at execution, his timing improving with his receivers.

During the rest of the practice there were some other standouts:

-- Linebacker Wesley Walker had a big hit on receiver after the catch.

-- Craig Bragg had an excellent leaping catch for a touchdown in an early scrimmage.

-- Ryan Smith had a nice over the shoulder catch against Matt Clark.

-- Matt Slater might have had the best catch of the day – curling around his defender to scoop up the pass with one hand for the reception.

Personnel News:

Jarrad Page, Craig Bragg, J.D. Groves and Garrett Lepisto wore the no-hit red jerseys today. Page sat out the last live scrimmage of the practice, with his starting safety spot filled by Kevin Brant, who played well. Bragg also sat out the last scrimmage. Dorrell said that none of the red-jerseyed players has a serious injury, but just giving a respite from hitting due to some bangs and bruises.

Antwuan Smith has made some considerable progress at wide receiver, getting far more polished in the last couple of weeks. He has a good chance to be in the receiver rotation.

Glenn Ohaeri started at the nickel back position, but Dorrell said that the nickel situation is a bit behind in its development. "That position is still up for grabs. We're still not really settled with it. Ohaeri just came back to practice. We'll work on it and get it settled by next week."

Asi Faoa rotated at both defensive end and defensive tackle.

The coaches would like to utilize Maurice Drew as a punt returner, according to Dorrell, but he's struggling catching the ball. "We'd really like to see him be the man there," Dorrell said.

Adam Speer, the 6-3, 270-lb. offensive line prospect from West Hills Chaminade visited practice Sunday. The word is that if UCLA offered, he'd commit.

More of Dorrell's Comments:

On whether his offense would be considered the "west coast" offense: "It's not realy. There's some foundation there, but it's really a melting pot of an offense that we've put together from the coaches."

On how much of the offense is installed: "We have as much installed as we want for the season. The installation is done. We'll add variations of plays for games, and pull plays out of what's been installed. With pro teams you have so much more time to install more offense, but we've installed as much as we can."

On trick plays: "I don't like them. They take a lot of preparation and usually don't work. I'd rather spend the five to seven minutes a practice you need to work on the trick plays on honing our existing plays. I'd rather use it for more preparation on that."

On the timing of announcing a quarterback starter: "After tomorrow, we'll be tapering down and then we'll have to start honing in for our opponent, we need a starting quarterback. By this week we'll know."

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