The season's outset included no major surprises though there was one change from spring's conclusion between the first and second unit offensive line: sophomore Steve Elmer lined up at right tackle rather than left guard, a move that put senior Matt Hegarty in his stead inside and pushed redshirt-freshman Mike McGlinchey to the second unit -- at left tackle.
-- QB Everett Golson
-- RB Tarean Folston
-- WR DaVaris Daniels
-- WR Chris Brown
-- Slot Amir Carlisle
-- TE Ben Koyack
-- Offensive Line (left to right): Ronnie Stanley, Matt Hegarty, Nick Martin, Christian Lombard, Steve Elmer.
The second unit offensive front showed (left to right): Mike McGlinchey, Conor Hanratty, Mark Harrell, Colin McGovern, and true freshman Quenton Nelson. They were joined by quarterback Malik Zaire, running back Cam McDaniel, wide receivers Corey Robinson and Will Fuller, slot receiver C.J. Prosise, and tight end Durham Smythe.
Third string offense featured freshman DeShone Kizer under center with Greg Bryant in the backfield. The receiving trio showed freshmen Justin Brent and Corey Holmes with Torii Hunter, Jr., in the slot. Freshman Tyler Luatua lined up at tight end with an offensive front (left to right) of redshirt and true freshmen: Jimmy Byrne, John Montelus (RS), Hunter Bivin (RS), Sam Mustipher, and Alex Bars.
Offensive Tidbits-- Cam McDaniel took reps with the first unit offense as the group moved from tempo to red zone drills.
-- As expected, working with the wide receivers in offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock's stead was head coach Brian Kelly. Not expected: Kelly has a pretty good arm for a former linebacker, albeit at a 5-yard range: he peppered receivers in a crouched position with passes fired low as a grad assistant swung a long pad at each set of hands immediately following the catch (or drop).
-- Second-best catch of the day: walk-on freshman Austin Webster with a diving stab during a deep fade drill. That though paled in comparison to sophomore Corey Robinson's stab of a low out route pass in which he a hit from classmate Cole Luke but hung on for the completion, tapping his toes in-bounds before hitting the sidelines.
-- Redshirt-freshman Greg Bryant showed a good pair of hands throughout drills with the quarterback; he effortlessly secured a high pass in the flat and turned up field in one motion.
-- Redshirt-freshman right guard Colin McGovern limped off the field and missed a good portion of practice in the tent but returned late and showed no ill effects. Junior left tackle Ronnie Stanley likewise left, carted off in need of an IV (per Kelly post-practice). Stanley did not return but is expected to be back Tuesday.
-- TE Durham Smythe wrestled a pass from Elijah Shumate's tight coverage but the former was told he failed to gain enough horizontal separation. Senior starter Ben Koyack later shielded a converging Eilar Hardy on a deep in route to secure the grab.
-- DaVaris Daniels slipped on a comeback route against cornerback Keivarae Russell but Daniels was able to collect himself on his knees and make the catch, regardless.
-- Will Fuller slipped Cole Luke's coverage at scrimmage and it was over immediately: 40 yards downfield on a beautiful pass from Golson for an easy touchdown. Fuller is a gazelle: he glides with seemingly no effort through open space. Listed at 180 pounds (up 11 from last August), Fuller though still appears to be the smallest regular competitor on the roster.
-- Cam McDaniel shook safety Nicky Baratti in open space to create plenty of room on a 10-yard out route.
-- Freshman Justin Brent schooled senior Jalen Brown on a comeback route. Brent actually beat him twice on the play waiting for the delayed throw.
-- Tarean Folston beat Austin Collinsworth on a deep corner route but the 5th-year senior recovered for a pass defended as freshman DeShone Kizer under threw (too late) the pass.
-- Ben Koyack separated by several yards on a corner route vs. Drue Tranquill, who spent the day at safety, not linebacker as listed/expected.
-- Corey Holmes beat fellow freshman Nick Watkins off the line of scrimmage but the ball sailed incomplete deep. Of note: Watkins was quite impressive save for this note.
-- Malik Zaire threw a textbook fade route to junior Chris Brown who beat tight coverage by Russell to secure a leaping grab despite the cornerback getting a hand in late.
-- McDaniel dropped an out route after again getting good separation against Baratti.
-- After looking awkward during a deep fade drill, Tyler Luatua showed good top end speed to conclude the one-on-one session, running by Matthias Farley down the seam. Luatua's build, especially his trunk, resembles that of Manti Te'o more than say a classic ND tight end.
-- Each member of today's punt return trio represented the state of Florida: Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston, and Cody Riggs. Only Riggs did not muff one of the offerings, though he did misjudge a dying quail off the leg of freshman Tyler Newsome.
-- Chris Brown offers the prettiest pattern of practice, blowing by KeiVarae Russell for a deep post touchdown in 7-on-7 action. Everett Golson delivered the pigskin.
-- Koyack proved a tough cover throughout the session. I'll set the O/U at total receptions for the Oil City senior at an ambitious 40.
-- Saw only one bad snap and it was from Nick Martin, late (and he heard it from Kelly).
-- No tackling (no pads) was allowed, but Tarean Folston's 65-yard touchdown sprint between left guard and tackle would have held up, regardless. He glided through the secondary to hit pay dirt.
Note: Why so much offense? This is Part I of II. Defensive 1st, 2nd, and 3rd string notes, plus tidbits and observations are forthcoming.