Practices are now closed but we would like to thank Coach Carroll for allowing us to continue with these reports. It was a short and shoulder pads practice today in front of a crowd that included such former players as Craig Fertig, Jim Hardy, Willie Brown and Paul Salata.
Today was the first time we saw Tom Malone punt against a live rush, even though it was a limited rush, and he continued his impressive kicking. The gunners were Troy Polamalu and Darrell Rideaux with Kevin Arbet and Sandy Fletcher also lining up there during the drill. The primary punt returners were Arbet, Frank Candela and Greig Carlson. Candela made one of the circus catches of the day early on when one Malone punt sailed over his head and toward a blocking sled but Frank went back like an outfielder and circled under the ball to make the catch with his arms extended over the sled.
Justin Fargas also took part in a few run drills early in the day and then went to the side of the field to test the leg with the trainers and then sat out the rest of the practice.
The wide receivers spent time working on drills with a blocking dummy to practice their blocks and then during some pass route drills D. Hale went down for a few minutes with a twisted knee but he later returned to practice and seemed to be fine. The WR's later worked with the LB's and DB's on some drills to practice varying coverages and the reads that are responsible on both sides. There were two groups of this drill going on simultaneously on Howard Jones Field with two QB's for each group. One player who looked good was Darrell Rideaux as he was consistently shouting to his teammates whether he was on the field or on the sidelines to make sure everyone was recognizing the proper coverage.
A 7 on 7 drill was held with some of the highlights as follows: Carson opened the drill with a nice deep pass to Colbert. Marcell Allmond had a good play when Cassel tried to hit Jason Mitchell coming across the field but Marcell was able to reach in and knock the ball away. New CB coach Greg Burns seems to be spending a lot of time with Marcell and the work is paying off with gradual improvement in his coverage skills. Carson hit William Buchanan with a throw that was right between the corner and safety. Kevin Arbet had a good defensive play when Carson tried to hit Keary near the sideline but Arbet reacted well for the deflection. In a play that will work all day long Carson hit Malaefou with a short pass against a linebacker and there aren't too many linebackers who are going to be able to keep with with Fou.
At this point the team broke for some field goals. David Davis made the first but the 2nd one was blocked by Mike Patterson and the 3rd one was blocked by Omar Nazel. Omar received some teaching from Carroll after his return, however, because he was holding the ball too loose in his arm.
Kareem Kelly sat out the practice with his sore hamstring but he was doing some serious work as the trainers had him stretching and working the hamstring the entire day going up and down the far end of the field near the swim stadium.
An 11 on 11 scrimmage started with Patterson knocking down a Carson pass at the line of scrimmage and Orgeron exploding off the sidelines with praise for "Baby Sapp". Malaefou caught a short pass but Aaron Graham was there to hold him to a short gain. Carson hit Buchanan with a pass just out of the reach of the corner. BKU was practicing with his left wrist in a soft cast but I didn't get a chance to talk with him after practice to find out why, I'll check on Thursday. Carson dropped back and had all day to look for a receiver thanks to good protection by Zach Wilson who was doing a job on Shaun Cody and CP hit Mitchell for a 17 yard gain. Cody lined up a few plays later against Derek Graf at center and Shaun got in on the quarterback faster than you can imagine for the sack on Palmer. Malaefou took a handoff and Patterson strung the play out before Lee Webb finished him off with a tackle.
Fred Matua was in attendance.