Spring Practice

The fundamentals. Every year you here so much about them, yet what really are they doing out on that field during voluntary sessions?<br><br> Everything gets worked on, and the coaches are quick to point out any areas that need improvement. Each day has its best and worst performers and today was no different.

The session started out with snap count practice where the offense and defense lined up against each other and ran through a series of formations. The drills were running plays and after the initial handoff, the team walked (literally walked) through the blocking assignments.

Defensive linemen and the secondary team then went into pursuit drills. Essentially the coaches were being rushed by linemen and threw the ball to the secondary dropping back into "coverage". The linemen then turned and ran after the ball, and changed direction when they realized it was "intercepted".

The defensive line then went through fumble recovery drills. The coach would roll balls there way and the linemen were given the task of securing it while on their feet as the ball came their way.

Meanwhile, running backs were going through drills to improve their initial burst from the set position. Another back would place his hands on the helmet of the set back and the back would burst out of it with purpose. The drill is set so running backs can develop a solid burst out of their stance.

Ray Lee Johnson was the ring leader during screen pass drills with the rest of the defensive line. Set as the quarterback, he would hike the ball and then let the linemen pursue him before dumping the ball off close to the defenders. The D-line would get their hands up to try and block the ball from reaching its target and pursue the receiver.

The offensive line ran power run blocking drills versus each other and Tony Terrell had some serious trouble trying to move Kelvin Garmon during the drills. Garmon looks and plays huge. Fonoti was moving well and he too is tipping some serious scales.

The rest:

David Binn is in game shape as the long snapper. He was snapping balls to both Mike Scifres and Darren Bennett and not one went errant. The underrated position is filled with a man who will not let us down in that regard.

Speaking of Bennett and Scifres, Bennett was solid as usual on his directional punting and Scifres was a little erratic, but when the time came to boom a few Scifres stole the show with some consistent 50+ yards, while Bennett struggled to get it 50 yards.

Eric Parker lost his footing on one drill as his body appeared to be moving slower than his legs wanted him. He was cutting on an out pattern when he wiped out and slid to the ground with arms flailing trying to get a hand on the ball that flew past him.

Kassim Osgood missed an easy catch on a post pattern. He hung his head dismayed after the miss.

Dahrran Diedrick missed a couple passes again today and is losing steam in the race to get a spot on the roster. His concentration is sorely lacking as there was no defenders on him during his drops.

Dondre Gilliam had a sweet catch tipping the ball to himself when it appeared out of reach.

Hanik Milligan saw a pass go right through his arms as he was in coverage during a 4-5 (4 offense vs. 5 defense) drill. Instinctively he broke on the ball and had clear sailing to the end zone but was unable to come up with the easy interception.

Zeke Moreno showed good coverage during the 4-5 drills as he took the back out of the backfield. He did not break up any passes but was on the runner each time they caught the ball, ready to lay a lick.

The Best:

PJ Mays had a day to remember. He made several nice grabs out of the backfield. Some may be due to his lack of height, but he still managed to catch the ball well. One pass he had to get full extension on and pulled the ball in. Had there been defenders we would probably be picking him up off the ground, but he showed hustle all day. Another pass during 4-5 drills, he had to drop down to his knees in order to scoop up and he managed it well.

The Worst:

Joey Goodspeed had the worst day of the bunch today. He dropped an easy pass while going out into the flat and then looked tentative in picking blitzes during one drill. Coaches kept him in and ran drills against him, pointing out mistakes and the lack of attacking the blitzing defender.

Surprise of the day:

David Binn was throwing some nice spirals as he warmed up some of the punters. Who knew he was more than a long snapper?!?

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net or via the following link: Denis Savage

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