Tuesday Practice

At Tuesday's practice, the defensive backs continue to look good, as do the running backs, again particularly Manuel White. Freshmen quarterback Drew Olson had his best day yet...

Being spoiled by two practices a day, having just one today felt like you didn't get much of an opportunity to see the team.

Cory Paus didn't have a great practice today. He had a little more zip on the ball than yesterday, but continued to throw into coverage. He also made a couple of bad decisions on some plays – opting to throw to what would be the less optimal receiver in a couple of situations. It was a simulated third and four, and Paus, after making the read, threw the 20-yard fade rather than a higher-percentage, shorter pass. It was, ironically, the mistake that Paus made a few times last season. Paus could be forcing it a bit in the last couple of days. He doesn't look as loose as he did the first couple of days of practice.

On the other hand, Drew Olson had a very good practice. It's impossible to determine whether the plays he's running are on a less sophisticated level than those that Paus is running, so it's not fair to really compare performances among the two quarterbacks. But on the plays Olson was put in the scrimmage to execute, he did a very good job. He threw accurate darts on simulated third-and-shorts. And he hit his receiver perfectly in the numbers on a number off outs and quick-hitters. While the coaches won't own up to it, Olson looks to be earning the #2 quarterback spot, evidenced by how many reps he's getting in the practice, and with what units.

John Sciarra had some good moments today, throwing a TD strike from about 15 yards out over the middle, as well as a couple of other good throws. He made a couple of questionable decisions on his reads and choices of receivers, and threw a couple of poor balls. But he performed better Tuesday.

Matt Moore struggled a bit today, especially in making decisions within the redzone offense. He also didn't get good opportunities to show off his throwing touch in the scrimmage very much.

Manuel White is looking more and more like one of the stars of the team. With his size, his newfound explosiveness is bordering on shocking. He had a couple of very nice runs straight up the middle, where, with a good hole, he exploded through and had defenders glancing off him. Tomorrow is the first day of full pads, and it's going to be very interesting to see how White looks when defenders can really tackle him over the next couple of days. Akil Harris had a good day also. He had a couple of nice holes created for him, but he exploited them, and got into the defensive backfield very quickly. As we said a day or so ago, Harris looks stronger and more assertive in his running style. Tyler Ebell had probably one of the best runs of the day. Ebell's size makes him hard to locate by defenders, and when he sneaks through a crack in the line, he can squirt out into the open field very well. Wendell Mathis and Jason Harrison still appear to be clearly ahead of Ebell on the depth chart at this point.

The best catch of the day was by Ryan Smith, a clutch grasp in traffic on a pass over the middle. A few comments from his teammates – both on offense and defense – were heard about how good Smith's hands are. Jon Dubravac also showed nice hands, making a few difficult grabs in traffic.

Mike McCloskey returned to action after missing a couple of days with the flu, and worked with the first team offensive line. The OL generally had a good practice, opening some good-sized holes for the running backs.

On defense, continuing to make plays is redshirt freshman cornerback Marcus Cassel. He had a number of knockdowns in coverage, and a few other nice smothers. He's technically improved quite a bit, which has enabled him to use his athleticism in getting to the ball and the backpocket of the receiver (where Coach Snow insists he wants his defensive backs after they break). He also made a very good play on a sweep where he strung out the running back for what would have been a loss of a couple of yards. Manning had an interception today, on a fairly lazy pass, and he continues to look very good, and mistake-free. Joe Hunter had a good day at cornerback in coverage and on running plays. It looks like he's improved his ability to contain a ball carrier. Ben Emanuel did some nice things defending the run, shooting the gap and stopping RBs behind the line. It that's not enough good performances from DBs, Eric McNeal looked very strong defending the run today, and Keith Short had a good day of coverage, hitting a TE on a reception and making him drop the ball. Joe Garcia had a nice, swift interception on a badly thrown Sciarra pass.

Asi Faoa has yet to get a real opportunity to show how good he is since the team can't tackle yet, but he made a great play on a reverse when he caught the wide receiver in the backfield.


Mike Seidman sat out the day. He got smacked in the head on Monday and the coaches and trainers thought it best he sit out a day. He insisted he was fine.

C.J. Niulsulu also sat out practice, due to an unspecified knee injury.

Justin London was named the freshman "representative" on the player council that reports to Coach Toledo.

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