At the end of the practice, both the full offense and defense ran through drills at a leisurely pace, and the entire team participated in these drills except for the one lone redshirt holdout - Nathan Rhodes.
Special teams isn't the coolest thing in the world to work on, so the coaches got the young guys into it early with some Kid Rock, Nate Dogg and Warren G. to boost their energy. Kai Ellis was out this morning as he is taking a class in Swahili. It's true.
Their were a bunch of players working out at the 'gunner' position on punt coverage. Those are the players on the wings to play contain and also try to down the ball on coffin kicks. Roc Alexander, Nate Robinson, Chris Singleton, Sam Cunningham, BJ Newberry, Wilbur Hooks Jr., Derrick Johnson and Shelton Sampson all gave it a shot.
There was one period where punter Derek McLaughlin punted from the opponent's 41 and tried to 'coffin' pin the ball deep. The closest they came was when the ball bounced at the two and went straight up. Jason Benn grabbed the ball in front of the goal line but his momentum carried him into the end zone.
Other than that, the closest punt was downed on the 8-yard line by Will Conwell. McLaughlin had four punts that either reached the end zone or flew it completely. Charles Frederick and Nate Robinson were the punt returners today and didn't flub one punt.
The other interesting drill of the day was when kicker Evan Knudson would try and kick a soccer ball while the ends came to block the kick. Those who tried blocking kicks included Owen Biddle, BJ Newberry, Matt Griffith, Marquis Cooper, Wilbur Hooks Jr., Eddie Jackson, Jimmy Newell, Evan Benjamin, Ty Eriks, James Sims Jr. and Matt DeBord.
On kickoff returns, Chris Singleton, Derrick Johnson, Shelton Sampson, Charles Frederick and Nate Robinson all took part in catching kicks. There were two groups acting as the 'wedge', the first one with Tui Alailefaleula, Robin Meadow, Houdini Jackson and Joe Toledo and the second one with Willie Kava, Khalif Barnes, Terry Johnson and Manase Hopoi.
All in the family: Susan Neuheisel showed up briefly this morning with two of their sons, Jerry and Joe in tow. Jerry, the oldest, stayed for the duration of the practice, playing catch with his Dad between periods.
Williams works out: Reggie Williams did participate in a couple of the special teams plays today. Paul Arnold sat out the day but did work out on the stationary bike.
Gancitano in the house: Nick Gancitano, John Anderson's kicking coach, was again working with John this morning. John kicked a lot today, and as a result was packing some big bags of ice around his hip and upper leg.
Practice report - 8/13 AM
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