The 81st Shrine Game: West practice
Offensively, UCLA quarterback Drew Olson established himself as the premier player at his position early. Displaying both accuracy and arm strength Olson impressed scouts all day long. Paul Pinegar did not stand out and Reggie McNeal struggled making throws downfield. Two beneficiaries of Olson's play were receivers David Anderson and Mike Haas. Anderson, from Colorado State ran precise routes and lost very little speed in his breaks. The smallest guy on the field, Anderson was almost uncoverable all day. Oregon State's Haas also ran precision routes and made athletic plays throughout the day. Haas did not catch the ball as well as Anderson though and had one memorable drop. BYU receiver Todd Watkins also made several acrobatic catches. Texas tight end David Thomas also excelled at catching the ball though he did not appear to be effective as a blocker. Kansas State offensive tackle Jeromy Clary showed good footwork on the outside. Coupled with his large frame Clary was difficult for defensive linemen all day. Washington offensive tackle Joe Toledo also used his size and footwork to keep defensive linemen out of the backfield. No other offensive linemen stood out during the scrimmage. Defensively most of the defensive linemen showed well given the struggles of the offensive line. Steve Fifita of Utah and Texas A&M's Johnny Jolly were the two most impressive. Jamar Williams was the most impressive of the West team defenders. The Arizona State linebacker was all over the field displaying great speed sideline to sideline as well as in reverse during pass coverage situations. Stanford linebacker Jon Alston also displayed the ability to get good depth on his drops and to close on the ball carrier or receiver. Josh Powell was the most physical performer on the West squad. Powell is best near the line of scrimmage and knocked several players to the ground during the limited contact scrimmage. After the practice Powell told us directly that he prefers playing in the box so that he can best use his physical nature. For those people looking for a small school sleeper, Daniel Manning could be a name to remember. The Abilene Christian prospect, who was recruited by Nebraska coming out of high school, stayed with his man all day and was not obviously susceptible to deep routes or double moves. Manning has solid fundamentals and above average athleticism. After practice Manning was also very popular with scouts in attendance.
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