Sunday's Practice

Maurice Drew has a dominating day Sunday, breaking off a series of flashy runs. One player on defense has consistently shown star quality, and an elite high school junior prospect makes his second appearance at fall camp...

Personnel Update:

Receiver Brandon Breazell will be absent from practice until Wednesday, taking a few days to attend the funeral of a hometown friend who was killed in a car accident.

Freshman receiver Gavin Ketchum's shoulder injury was worse than originally suspected. It's a first-degree separation and he's expected to be out three to four weeks. It will be interesting to see if he's too far behind at that point and would just redshirt.

Running back Chris Markey returned kickoffs for the last two days, but didn't participate in the rest of practice.

Starting center Mike McCloskey is still out with a shoulder injury.

Defensive end William Snead was wearing a boot for his sprained ankle and is expected back this week.

Rodney Van did not dress, out with the flu.

Defensive end Karl Morgan is still in shells, abiding by the NCAA 5-day acclimation process. He'll be in full pads by Tuesday.

Linebacker Bruce Davis took off the red, no-hit jersey and participated in practice.

Lienbacker Dan Nelson is participating in practice, while noticeably limping on his injured knee.

Safety Christ Horton wore a red, no-hit jersey, and participated in some parts of practice.

Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell sat out practice with back and hip problems.

To hear the comments of Karl Dorrell about the status of various players, watch the video of his comments after Sunday's practice.

Performance Notes:

The elite players on the roster have all had their days during the first week of fall practice, and today's was tailback Maurice Drew's. Drew broke a number of runs, on some gaping holes provided by the first-time offensive line, but also by bouncing off tacklers. On one run, he juked a defender at the line of scrimmage to get to open field.

Also, it seems every fall there is an unsung player who steps up and looks like he'll be competing for playing time. Often times it's a walk-on. This year its 6-0 junior walk-on wide receiver Andrew Baumgartner. Baumgartner had another impressive day Sunday, running sharp routes and catching anything thrown to him. Historically, though, many of these fall camp heroes tend not to see time once the season starts, so it will be interesting to see if Baumgartner's performance in camp actually does warrant him playing time during the season.

Joe Cowan, the junior receiver, had a better day today holding onto the ball.

Junior Taylor continues to be the most solid and consistent among the receivers. Marcus Everett is probably second in terms of consistency, and showed it again today.

Marcedes Lewis had his usual number of big catches and plays. At one point, though, he caught a ball over the middle and went down hard on his back. It was a bit reminiscent of his tumble last year when he bruised his tailbone, an injury that kept him out for a while. While Lewis was on the ground in pain, the practice stopped and the field and stands were as silent as a church. After a moment, Lewis got up and continued practice. It was said that he might have slightly strained a groin, but is okay.

It appears that Ryan Moya, the freshman tight end, is going to be utilized this season. At about 6-2 and 225, he's small for a tight end, which is both bad – and good. He'll struggle physically, especially in blocking situations. But his quickness and athleticism make him a tough matchup for slower linebackers in coverage. He had a number of nice catches today, one down the middle of the field where he broke a tackle.

Tony Lee, the redshirt freshman back-up offensive tackle, has not only grown out, but up. He looks to be at least 6-5 now.

Freshman quarterback Osaar Rasshan is struggling. As we've known for a while, he is still learning the mechanics of passing, and he struggles throwing the ball down the field, with the ball tending to float or waffle. It looks as if he doesn't have a very good grip on the ball. It will be interesting to watch his progress this year; most true freshman quarterbacks look pretty bad in their first month of fall practice, but then tend to show improvement by December.

With starting center McCloskey out, redshirt freshman Chris Joseph has been getting most of the first-team reps. Aaron Meyer, the other redshirt freshman, did get some reps with the ones today, however.

Michael Pitre looked good at the beginning of practice, making a great, stretching catch on a swing pass and then breaking some tackles. He sat out some of the second half of practice due to some minor injuries.

On defense, probably the player who has exhibited the most stand-out, star quality has been defensive tackle Kevin Brown. He looks unblockable at times, in the backfield on running and passing plays alike. He had a couple of virtual sacks today, and a couple of tackles for loss. He can do it either with finesse, being quick and sly enough to get around his blocker, but sometimes he'll just bullrush his man and push him back and collapse the pocket.

There were some reps this morning when the projected starting linebackers were in at the same time – Spencer Havner at inside weakside linebacker; Justin London at middle linebacker and Bruce Davis at outside linebacker. The three of them physically make for an impressive group.

Kenneth Lombard, the redshirt freshman defensive tackle, simply makes you not believe in him because he physically looks like a walk-on player. He's about 6-1ish, 260ish, and is fairly narrow, with sloping shoulders and is a little bottom heavy. So you just can't believe that he'd be able to play at this level. But Lombard continues to defy convention, making plays consistently every practice. He can struggle sometimes on run defense, but in pass rushing he's quick and smart and beats his man often. Lombard made the most of his chance today with Brigham Harwell sitting out for the day.

Defensive end Justin Hickman would probably be the next guy to consistently be making the biggest impact on the defensive line behind Brown, and today was no exception. In one-on-ones with the offensive linemen he was tough to contain and had a couple of sacks in the scrimmages.

Trey Brown had an interception of an errant Patrick Cowan pass.

The other big plays on defense tended to come from safeties making some big hits. The usual big hitter, Eric McNeal, didn't have one in particular today, but Dennis Keyes and freshman Bret Lockett both did. Lockett smacked Moya once he caught the ball over the middle, while Moya hung on to it. Then perhaps the most noteworthy hit of the day came from safety Chris Horton, who is ironically in a red, no-hit shirt. Horton plowed fullback Jimmy Stephens, and you could hear players and coaches chanting, "He's back...he's back."

Quarterback Watch:

The coaches are alternating which quarterbacks get the reps with the first-string offense, and today was definitely David Koral's turn. Koral had a solid day, executing well and completing some nice throws. Pat Cowan also worked with the ones, but didn't make as much of the opportunity. After today, you'd have to say that Koral has moved ahead of Cowan, while still trailing Drew Olson and Ben Olson.

For most of practice, Drew and Ben were going through drills together – running from the 4-on-5 drills, to the receiver/defensive back one-on-one drills and others. It was more of the same as it was the last couple of days, with Drew being about as good as he's been, and Ben showing flashes of greatness. Neither of them got many reps today with the ones, however, in the seven-on-sevens or 11-on-11s.

The team ran through a third-down drill. With 11-on-11, the coaches created various third-down scenarios. On a third and three, Drew Olson hit Matt Slater for a 15-yard gain over the middle. Cowan hit his brother, Joe Cowan, for about 20 yards over the middle. Cowan also dumped a pass off to Maurice Drew, who broke it for at least 30 yards, throwing off tacklers along the way. On a third and short, Ben Olson hit Bell on a 15-yard completion over the middle.

Recruiting Watch:

Marc Tyler, the elite junior running back from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, made his second appearance at a practice this fall.

Chane Moline, the elite senior running back from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High, also attended practice.


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