Spring Football Update (3/19/04)

Spring practice at WMU began Tuesday March 16 and in just 3 short days players are already making statements on the field. Broncos Illustrated observed practice on Thursday, and here is what was to be seen.

One of the most impressive performances on the field was at the wide receiver position. No, it wasn't the usual suspect Greg Jennings but it was Lansing Sexton alum and current freshman Brian Jackson.

Jackson caught almost everything thrown his way regardless of whether it was a good pass or not. He was able to turn the corner well and in some cases break free for what would have been a long run after the catch had this been a game or scrimmage situation.

Also playing well was soon to be sophomore Tyson DeVree. Also catching almost everything thrown his way DeVree, however, was most impressive in blocking drills with the offensive line.

At running back Daniel Marks had several runs for over 20 yards, no fumbles that were noticed and great burst speed. In fact that great speed caught everyone's attention several times. Head coach Gary Darnell praised Marks multiple times for solid runs throughout the practice session.

On the defensive side of the ball Paul Tithof and Mike Giorgianni played well at linebacker. Both were frequently the first defenders to the ball during non-contact drills. In what was a very spirited practice for the defense, both Tithof and Giorgianni were some of the most inspired players on the field.

The position gaining the most attention so far by fans has been the quarterback position. With five guys vying for the starting job, every QB in practice was given equal time under center to show their skills and leadership.

Ryan Cubit has asserted himself as an early favorite with solid arm strength, great confidence under center and a knack for hitting receivers on the numbers. Blayne Baggett is also a favorite early in spring ball with solid passing accuracy, a good command of the offensive line and a natural flow with the backs in hand-off situations.

The most impressive QB has been freshman Alex Engram. Although a step behind leaders Cubit and Baggett, Engram has perhaps the strongest arm among the QBs and shows more confidence then normally seen in a freshman. Engram also showed good pass accuracy, and showed great athleticism in a scramble that netted him 20+ yards on a broken pass drill.

Another Spring Update will come next week with looks at positions and players not covered in this article.

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