US Army Bowl: West Practice #2

With Day-2 of practice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in the books, there were several of the All-Americans who stood out in practice, including UCLA recruit, defensive tackle <b>Roy Miller</b>...

My focus today was primarily on the wide receivers, tight ends, offensive/defensive line but will also mix in a few notes on some of the linebackers and defensive backs I noticed as well…

Offensive Line:
The offensive line unit is lacking size, depth and another body. Denver, Colorado C Jesse White (OU commit), sat out the day with a right ankle and knee injury as he walked with a noticeable limp. He is day-to-day but expected to make his way back in the lineup soon.

Bouncing back in a huge way, today, was Reginald Youngblood, who actually had a good day yesterday save getting beat a few times by (La Cueva) New Mexico DE Aaron Lewis and (Milwaukee) Wisconsin DE Raymond Henderson. We said it would be interesting to see if he'd make a few adjustments and he did exactly that. No one got around him, no one even got close. Not to mention, when he was asked to pull and execute blocks downfield, he handled his business. The No. 2-rated OT, in the nation, proved it today…

"I think I had some problems yesterday because it was the first day, and I was gettin' used to the speed," Youngblood told "The speed of these guys is the biggest thing to adjust to. But today, I was comin' out of my stance quicker and was able to adjust to the speed."

Another standout effort was turned in today by Collins, Mississippi C/G Josh McNeil (Tennessee verbal). He has the nasty disposition you want to see on the offensive line, the game, and the talk. After getting into a little skirmish with Killeen, Texas DT Roy Miller, the two locked up mano y mano on the next play, battling each other until the whistle was blown to a draw.

"I hit him and he fell to the ground," McNeil explaining what happened during the scuffle, "And he didn't like it too much. We had some words and I guess we just decided to mix it up a little on the next play."

Portland, Oregon OL Ndamaukong Suh stepped in at left guard, in place of the injured Jesse White, and gave his best effort, but had a lot of problems controlling Miller.

Moreno Valley, California OL Rodney Picou grabbed first-team at left guard today and did well, though, he did struggle some against Dallas, Texas DT DeMarcus Granger.

Tucson, Arizona OT Daniel Borg is starting at RT for the West and has looked good off-and-on, having his hands full with Allen, Texas DE Marcus Shavers.

[Correction: In the West Practice Report yesterday, I said Ada, Oklahoma G Craig Roark looked closer to 6-feet than the listed 6-3. However, I went and stood next to him today after the practice was over, as opposed to looking at from him afar, and he's definitely 6-2, might even give him 6-2.5. Having said that, Roark and his father disagreed, citing a 6-3 camp measurement at Nebraska.]

Defensive Line:
The West All-Star DT depth took a bit of a hit today. After talking yesterday about three stallion DT prospects, today we talk about just two because Waynesboro, Mississippi DT Jerrell Powe sat out today's practice with a toe injury. X-rays came back negative, and he'll be back tomorrow. Dallas, Texas DT DeMarcus Granger also had some trouble today, receiving just about a quarter of the available reps due to dizziness, cramps, dehydration. His not being in optimum shape does not help. Make no mistake Granger could stand to lose a good 25 pounds. At this point, he simply dominates anything in his path, but he wears down too quickly. Standing out yet again is Killeen, Texas DT Roy Miller. The 5-star DT took nearly every single rep at the position and it's amazing to see how fit this kid is, not to mention his ability to continue making plays for extended periods of time. He appears fully ready to give all-out effort on the next level and capable of giving it his all for the full 60 minutes…

Wide Receivers: Four wideouts standing out today were DeSean Jackson, who eyeballs at 5-10, 165, catches everything, has great speed and the ability to separate from the DBs, giving his QB a nice easy window to deliver the ball to. Also, Davis Nelson continues to amaze. His body control is extremely impressive, and once he gets going, he's fast enough. That said he needs to improve his explosion off the line and get in and out of his breaks a bit quicker. Todd Walker also continued to impress. He catches with his hands, and only dropped a couple of passes today. Later, in the scrimmage, he was targeted at least three-four times and came up money each time, making the grab and getting what ever else he could manage before play was stopped. Finally, did not see as much of D.J. Hord today, but watched him in the drills, and he continues to impress…

Tight Ends: Watching the tight ends today revealed that Galena Park TE DajLeon Farr (who was unable to practice yesterday in the main action because his helmet was still on order and arrived today) saw his first extensive action. And, during drills, showed his ability to catch the ball (with his hands), but due to what may very well have been nerves dropped a few he should have hauled in. However, later in 7-on-7 action, kid caught everything. He followed that up with another good performance in the scrimmage, catching everything, save one pass. He has the speed to separate from the linebackers and drew a lot of praise today.

Houston, Texas TE Martellus Bennett was not his usual self today. After having a very strong, Bennett-like effort in today's drills, catching everything thrown his way, he struggled in 7-on-7 work and in the scrimmage. He wasn't able to haul in the passes with the same level of consistency we're used to. The 6-7-specimen also had trouble separating from the linebackers, but used his big frame to shield the defender. That said, not a typical Bennett performance by his standards today. Too many dropped passes. Expect him to come out tomorrow with renewed focus on getting back to the basics: see it, snatch it.

Linebackers: Jenks, Oklahoma MLB Phillip Dillard really impressed in coverage, running stride-for-stride, with the running backs (i.e. Port Arthur, Texas RB Jamaal Charles, a 4.44-kid), batting down at least 4-5 balls, and recording a pick. Oak Creek, Wisconsin LB Travis Beckum also did well, not necessarily in coverage, but in goal line-work, he was tremendous. He pancaked DajLeon Farr on one play and, overall, was just really physical out there. Eureka, California LB Ray Maualuga struggled a bit in coverage today, but using the 5-yard chuck rule, an unsuspecting DajLeon Farr got dropped when entering Maualuga's space. DajLeon would make him pay a couple of times after that by using his speed and athleticism to shake him.

Defensive Backs: Oxnard, California CB/S Kevin Thomas is the top cover corner on the West roster and put a blanket on the pass-catchers the West trotted out there. He was beat a few times today, but other than that, he stuck to the receivers like glue, breaking up passes left and right, recording an INT. Didn't see much of La Marque, Texas S Korey Mangum, but the two times I watched him, he had excellent coverage. Also, another DB who did well, but was a bit off-and-on-today, was Edmond, Oklahoma Reggie Smith. He recorded a couple of picks and broke up several passes in 7-on-7 work and one-on-one drills. Although he was torched a few times today, not a bad day at the office considering the kid is projected to play free safety, not corner…

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