Monday Practice Notes & Dorrell Video

The defense generally has another good day against the offense, which has struggled a bit the last couple of days. There are a couple of injuries in practice and Head Coach Karl Dorrell comments about those, the defensive line, a standout freshman, and more...

The football team practiced for the first time on the "speed turf" side of Spaulding Field this morning.

Generally, the turf got good reviews, providing an even surface, one that is less prone to cause injury than the IM field.

Junior offensive guard Shannon Tevaga tweaked an ankle toward the end of practice, but said afterward that he was fine, and was walking with no limp.

Cornerback Rodney Van collided with what looked like safety Chris Horton. Head Coach Karl Dorrell said it looked to be a neck injury. Dorrell didn't anticipate it'd be serious, but Van will undergo an MRI.

Defensive tackle Kenneth Lombard will also undergo an MRI, for an unspecified injury.

Quarterback Ben Olson had another tough day for the second day in a row. In the 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, he struggled to complete a pass, throwing short balls at the receiver's feet, seemingly taking too long to make decisions and he even fumbled twice.

Patrick Cowan, for the second straight day, looked better. Cowan hit receiver Ryan Graves on a slant with a nice throw, and the threw a perfect pass to a streaking Brandon Breazell and hit him in stride. Cowan did throw an interception, to safety Dennis Keyes, who is easily leading the team in picks so far this fall.

The receivers haven't been looking sharp lately, not doing well in getting open generally and dropping balls. Marcus Everett, one of the most sure-handed receivers on the team, dropped an easy hitch this morning.

On defense, there were more standouts. Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell, who is still mostly working with the 2s, has looked very quick, strong and aggressive, especially in the OL v. DL 1-on-1s. Jerzy Siewierski, the freshman DT, has fared better than his more heralded fellow freshman DT, Darius Savage. Siewierski has moved up to work with the 3s.

The line 1-on-1s are one of the most entertaining drills of practice. Today, Harwell looked exceptional, blowing up center Aaron Meyer with ease. Harwell also jetted around Chris Joseph on one rep. Siewierski had a good rep against freshman OL Brandon Bennett, not only out-quicking him but bull-rushing him back. There were some OL newcomers that looked good – with Nick Ekbatani containing Kevin Brown; Freshman Micah Kia looking good on a couple of reps; and freshman Jake Dean the only OL to hold off Harwell on a rep. Senior center Robert Chai also kept Brown under wraps.

Linebacker Aaron Whittington is still running with the 1s. Bret Lockett stepped in and had some time with the 1s in place of Keyes. Linebacker Reggie Carter took many reps at the strongside linebacker position instead of the middle.

Cornerback Trey Brown continues to struggle a bit. He got burned on successive plays in the 11-on-11, on one by Graves and the next by Breazell.

Among the younger players, there hasn't seemed to be many really stepping up just yet, compared to other fall camps in the past, to the point where you think they'd made a big impact this season. Alterraun Verner, the freshman cornerback, has probably made the biggest impression among new players and looks on track not to redshirt (Dorrell comments about him in his post-practice comments on video below). Kia also looks to have a bright future, showing good quickness with his size, but at OL he probably will still redshirt. Dean, also, has looked good in the drills. Sophomore safety Bret Lockett is definitely showing that he'll get a good amount of playing time. Aaron Ware has had some moments; today he had a big hit on Breazell on a reverse. Chane Moline has had the best moments among the freshmen tailbacks, but nothing overwhelming.

Others have been a little slow in making impressions. Savage looks huge, but looks like a ways away. DT Jess Ward also looks like he's not ready to compete for the two deep. Freshman Dylan Rush looks like a tweener, about 6-2 and 240 – more like a linebacker than a defensive end.

Perhaps once they begin scrimmaging more, which we've heard should be after this Wednesday and, of course, with the scrimmage on Saturday, more younger players will show some flashes.

There were some new walk-ons added to the roster: Matt Culver, a safety from Grossmont College, and Danny Rees, a freshman punter from Lake Bluff, Ill., the son of former director of football operations at UCLA, Bill Rees.

Donovan Warren, the elite cornerback prospect from Long Beach Poly, attended practice. So did Chris Carter, the linebacker prospect from Fontana Kaiser, and the younger brother of freshman DE David Carter.

For a detailed account of Monday's practice, BRO message board denizen smilingjeffrey provides us an excellent one.

Dorrell's Post-Practice Comments, #1 -- Watch Video

Dorrell's Post-Practice Comments, #2 -- Watch Video

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