In an 11-on-11 session without live tackling, the defensive front seven manhandled the passing game. First-team quarterback John Stocco was "sacked" on each of the first four plays (Stocco is off limits in these sessions, so this means a defender either touched him or stopped next to him, forcing the whistle), though he still threw and completed passes after two of them.
First, defensive tackle Jason Chapman got to Stocco, followed by will linebacker Dontez Sanders. After yet another sack from the first-team defense, the second team got in the mix, with defensive tackle Mike Newkirk bursting through the line for the fourth straight sack.
The streak was only stopped when Stocco quickly got a pass out to tight end Jason Pociask on the sideline, who was hit by strong safety Joe Stellmacher. The ball popped into the air and Pociask fell to the turf, but was able to snag the ball before it hit the ground for a short completion along the sideline. Stocco was fortunate not be sacked for a fifth straight time; defensive end Kurt Ware nearly got to him in time.
A common theme this camp season has been Brian Calhoun making big play after big play. This morning's session was no different. Calhoun caught a pass from Stocco 26 yards down the field, then hop-stepped around corner Antonio Freeman and ran into the clear. Only the whistle kept it from being a 76-yard touchdown.
The defense, though, would pour it on again. With the second offense in, second-team defensive end Matt Shaughnessy registered a "sack", his third in two days. On the next play, three defenders then burst through the line, coercing an ill-advised pass that Andy Crooks picked off and returned for a touchdown.
Later, versus the first offense, reserve mike backer Josh Neal tracked down Calhoun near the line of scrimmage. That was followed by Shaughnessy, Neal and LaMarr Watkins, who played sam linebacker with the second team, converging on Stocco for yet another sack.
It was not a pleasant sequence of events for the offensive line, which struggled immensely in pass protection. The defense, meanwhile, was more animated than at any other time during camp so far, heaping trash talk upon their offensive brethren.
Jamal Cooper got in on the sack parade before the offense started to turn things around.
Several plays later Stocco completed a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Orr, who had to wait on the ball but still made the catch and broke into the clear.
Offense thrives in red zone
The live tackling short yardage situation that concluded practice was a reversal of fortune.
On the first series of first-and-goal from the five, matching the first offense against the first defense, the offense needed two plays to score. Fullback Matt Bernstein bulled his way forward for four yards, setting up Calhoun's one-yard touchdown run.
The offense scored again versus the second defense. This time Calhoun picked up three yards to the 2, setting up Booker Stanley for a scoring run.
Opening the next series (second offense versus first defense) fullback Chris Pressley bulled his way to the one. But just as the defense made some glaring mistakes when it was controlling the action, the offense returned the favor, losing possession with a fumbled center exchange.
The second defense then got a three-and-out stop on the second offense, before the first offense came back to score twice more, making it a perfect 4-for-4 in the segment.
- Newkirk and Brandon Kelly combined for a tackle for loss on Walker during the goal line segment.
- Freshman linebacker DeAndre Levy forced and recovered a fumble during an earlier 11-on-11 session.
- Dustin Sherer again played well, looking smooth on a roll out and completion to tight end Sean Lewis.
- Stocco made a crisp throw on the run to Brandon Williams, for a completion along the far sideline.
- Williams caught about a 25-yard pass from Stocco earlier in practice that would have covered more distance if the whistle had not blown. Williams also made a tough catch near the sideline despite a blow from Roderick Rogers.
- Joe Monty had a sack and another tackle for loss.
- During 7-on-7 work Jarvis Minton caught a pass over the middle and out-sprinted the safeties toward the sideline for what would have been an 81-yard score in a live situation.
- Brett Bell had an interception, making him the third cornerback with a pick this camp.