In the Trenches with the North Team

Although Mobile is in the heart of the Deep South, temperatures Tuesday morning were more reminiscent of the great white north. braved the cold as we were in attendance to look at how the "big uglies" fared in Cincinnai Bengals coach Marvin Lewis' practice.

Normally watching offensive and defensive linemen work against each other is one of the least interesting parts of a football practice, but Tuesday morning the big men stole the show. Although the Pac-10 is a conference known for its explosive offenses and great passing games, and not so much for pounding the rock, the two best linemen on the East squad come from the Pacific Time zone. University of California center Alex Mack and University of Oregon guard Max Unger were clearly the two most dominant interior linemen working out Tuesday morning. Both players showed great feet and agility, and an ability to shut down bigger defenders.

Cincinnati guard Trevor Canfield was one of five Bearcats to make the trip to Mobile and he showed himself well on Tuesday morning as he "pancaked" Iowa defensive lineman Mitch King on one play. Connecticut center William Beatty showed a mean streak as he stoned Northern Illinois defensive end Larry English, and offensive tackles Phil Loadholt from Oklahoma and Xavier Fulton from Illinois also showed great footwork and strength.

On the defensive side of the ball, Boston College's talented duo of defensive tackles Ron Brace and B.J. Raji were watched closely by many. Raji is the higher rated prospect, and he lived up to his billing as he was nearly unstoppable in drills. Brace, however, didn't fare nearly as well as Cal's Alex Mack handled him on several occasions with relative ease, and Virginia Tech lineman Ryan Shuman had also stoned the prospect.

Missouri defensive tackle Ziggy Hood looked like a man among boys as he showed great quickness and power, as he dominated the line of scrimmage. Michigan defensive end Tim Jamison showed great strength in one-on-one drills, and also made several plays when the practice went to 11 on 11.

Some of the players who didn't fare well on Tuesday and need bounce-back performances are Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King, Northern Illinois defensive end Larry English, and Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace.

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