Day 3 - Morning practice

The highlights of today included a long TD run from Hershel Dennis, a 55 yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel to Mike Williams on the final play of the practice, big hits from Mike Pollard and Matt Grootegoed, a pancake block from Alex Holmes and a new fall camp interception leader in Kenechi Udeze.

This was as good a practice as you're going to see in shorts and shoulder pads. There were a lot of big plays this morning made on both sides of the ball and it really set a good tone for the players and coaches as we head into full pads practices tomorrow. This afternoon will feature practice with no pads and a lot of work on special teams.

One morning drill that was very spirited was when the running backs go up against one linebacker as they are catching passes out of the backfield. There was good competition with Malaefou MacKenzie calling out for different match-ups between players and when the drill was done you could see players from both sides of the ball high fiving each other for the good effort.

On Brain Kennedy Field the first offense and first defense came together for a drill that featured primarily run plays. Fargas broke a tackle attempt at the line by Mike Patterson and went for 7 yards. Malaefou then followed a good block by Matua and Norm Katnik for 4 yards. CP fumbled the next snap and with the injury to his right hand we've seen Katnik snap with his left hand so this will be a situation to watch out for. Cody and Patterson combined to stop Fargas at the line for no gain. Malaefou got nothing as LaJuan Ramsey clogged up the middle and so far the defense was holding tough. Cassel tried to loosen them up by going deep to Kareem who had beaten Wyatt but the ball went off Kareem's fingtertips. It was one of the few plays that Kareem has missed this fall as his peformance has been solid so far. Malaefou ran right behind Matua and went for 12 yards. Poston took a handoff but immediately felt the big paw of Shaun Cody grab him and pull him to the ground. Carson dumped a short pass off to Hancock but as Brandon started to run in the open field he fumbled the ball and it was picked up by Colbert. Hershel Dennis took a handoff up the middle but was met with a helmet in his chest on a picture perfect form tackle by Mike Pollard. One of the LB Poly assistant coaches who was watching from the sidelines commented "Mike, don't treat a Poly brother like that". There was a large group of recruits from Poly in attendance including QB Leon Jackson and WR's Derrick Jones, Alex Watson and Kalid Abdul-Rahim. Brandon Hancock took a quick handoff right up the middle but Lee Webb was there for the stop. Malaefou took a pitch to the right with Alex Holmes out in front of him and Holmes absolutely ran right through Dallas Sartz and drove Dallas onto his back with Holmes landing right on top of him. The last play of the drill had Leinart rolling out and dumping a short pass to David Kirtman.

The team then moved to Howard Jones Field and the ball was placed on the offenses 15 yard line for a drill that featured a lot of blitzing by the defense. Carson got things started by trying to hit Holmes over the middle but Melvin Simmons tipped the ball enough that Alex was forced to try and juggle it in until DeShaun Hill came over for the pop to knock the ball to the ground. Kenechi Udeze came in for the sack. Matt Grootegoed came in for the sack on a blitz. Carson read a blitz and hit a wide open William Buchanan for a long gain. Cassel dropped back and had some time when Chad Pierson did a good job to pick up the blitz but good coverage forced Matt to tuck the ball and run. Carson tried to hit Mattos over the middle but the ball sailed high with Miguel Fletcher in good position. Mike Ross came in for the sack on CP. Carson then dropped back and wanted to hit either Mattos or Williams but both were covered and his pass to Hancock was high due to good coverage from Prosser. Carson went to Hershel in the flat, the pass was low but HD went down for the catch and was tackled by Collin Ashton. Carson tossed a short completion to Pierson who was met immediately with a traditional Grootegoed pop that drove Pierson straight into the ground. At this point Danny Urquhart went to the sidelines and had ice on his shoulder, he said after practice that he's had a problem with stingers before and that he should be fine. Patterson came in strong and was chasing CP but Carson continued to roll and was able to to hit Mattos who had done a nice job of coming back to the sidelines to help his quarterback. Udeze beat Winston Justice for a sack. Carson went to Dom Byrd over the middle on the last play of the drill. The team then moved for some FG work. David Davis and Ryan Killeen alternated with Malone holding for Davis and Cassel holding for Kileen. The results were as follows; Davis (XP - good, 32 yards - good, 40 yards - good, 47 yards - good), Kileen (XP - good, 32 yards - good, 40 - wide right, 47 - no good).

The ball was moved to the center of Howard Jones Field for what turned out to be a very good drill featuring a lot of good plays. Carson immediately hit Hancock with a short pass and hard tackle from Polamalu. Fargas took a handoff but was met for no gain by Patterson. Malaefou took a handoff and same result, a quick tackle by Patterson for no gain. Anybody who is concerned about the loss of weight by Patterson has no reason to be worried at all about his ability to make plays. Cassel rolled out with a blitzing Lee Webb in his face and he calmly completed a pass to Doyal Butler for 12 yards. Darryl Poston followed good blocks from Derek Graf and Eric Torres and then showed some hard running on a play that only went for about 7 yards but because he ran so hard Poston was greeted warmly by players and coaches. Pierson took a handoff and was met right away by Tofi and Mike Ross. Hershel then went off left guard, got into the secondary right away and outran everyboy to the end zone for a 50 yard touchdown that got the offense extremely fired up. Carson then dropped back with great protection and hit Jason Mitchell for 25 yards. On the next play Omar Nazel was able to tip the pass in the air (he's making a habit of that) and once again the ball landed in the arms of Kenechi Udeze. Kenechi ran one back for a touchdown earlier in camp so instinct took over and he immediately headed for the end zone again only to be tackled short of the goal line by Keary Colbert. After the practice BKU had a big smile on his face as he joked that he would've scored but there were too many people in his way with the reserves and everyone watching the play who had been standing behind the offense. Fargas sliced into a hole created by Travis Watkins and Graf for a 10 yard gain. Graf is healthy and looks very strong, what a bonus it would be for him to earn playing time on the o-line. Cassel hit Hancock with a short pass that saw Brandon deliver blows to would-be tacklers Justin Wyatt and Sandy Fletcher before they were finally able to combine and force him out of bounds. The coaches were set for the final play of practice and had both sides of the ball fired up to see who was going to get it done on this play. Matt Cassel dropped back, had good protection, looked off one receiver and then threw a beautiful deep pass to Mike Williams who was 3 yards behind Ronald Nunn and he was able to haul the ball in for the score. The offensive members streamed down the field to celebrate and it is noticeable that Williams received a talking to by Carroll after missing a similar pass yesterday yet he came right back and delivered on this day. Carroll then brought the team together at the center of the field as they sang "Fight On".

The freshman stayed after practice to listen to a talk from Mike Garrett and as they were waiting for Garrett to show up a couple of them took part in a mini-passing drill that showcased Fred Matua against Winston Justice. LaJuan Ramsey served as the QB as Matua lined up wide against Winston in coverage. Fred beat Winston with a nifty swim move at the line but that pass from Ramsey was wobbly and faded out of bounds. On the next play Winston lined up as the receiver and put a beautiful stop and go move that froze Matua and the pass was perfect for a touchdown. Mike Williams brought Matua over for some pointers before the next play and Fred was able to beat Winston on a quick slant for a nice catch. Garrett then walked on the field and the battle of the freshmen was over.


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