Shrine Game Practice Report: The East from Monday

The 2005 Shrine Bowl kicked off Monday afternoon with the East team taking the field for the first practice. Caoch Joe Tiller of Purdue brought two of the Boilermakers best offensive players, Kyle Orton and Taylor Stubblefield, to San Francisco for the week. With players from the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC conferences the East team figures to be well represented on draft day. Here is today's practice report.

While the East team has plenty of star power at the skill positions it was still a difficult test for a trio of signal callers today.  After a few passes Kyle Orton adjusted nicely and displayed  accuracy on both short and intermediate passes.  Unfortunately Orton struggled with the deep ball all day.  Ryan Fitzpatrick of Harvard also struggled with the bomb, though his passes rarely fluttered like Orton's.  Louisville's Stefan LeFors, the smallest of the quarterbacks on the East roster, demonstrated great athleticism throughout practice but struggled mightily with the deep ball and barely hit receivers on several long passes.

LeFors college teammate, receiver J.R. Russell, had one of the better practice sessions.  Russell got downfield with ease and ran good routes.  Florida State provided a pair of receivers in Chauncy Stovall and Dominic Robinson.  Both are big pass catchers that lack deep speed.  Each made up for it by running crisp rotes.  Taylor Stubblefield is smaller than listed and does not have great speed. He did not have a great day.  Josh Davis of Marshall looked athletic but dropped several catchable balls.

The best offensive player during practice was, without question, Nick Kaczur of Toledo.  Kaczur played left tackle all day and was only beaten on a single occasion in drills.  Florida's Jonathan Colon, a late addition to the game, was also impressive at right tackle but had trouble protecting the edge against fast pass rushers.  C.J. Brooks of Maryland lined up at guard all day and did not play well at all.

Louisiana Tech junior Ryan Moats was the only running back that stood out for the east.  Moats is small but quick and runs under control.  He could have a future as a third down back.

Things looked much better on the defensive side of the ball.  Auburn's Jay Ratliff was the most impressive player of the day from either team.  Ratliff was unblockable during drills and scrimmage, getting penetration on almost every snap.  Though he held up well in one-on-one drills he was not as consistent. Ratliff shows some size potential but looks like a better fit at left defensive end rather then the tackle spot he manned today.  Albert Means of Memphis was one of the biggest guys on the field and at times one of the best.  Means does look a bit heavy in the tummy yet didn't always use that size to his advantage.  Santonio Thomas, another talented defensive tackle, was a big disappointment who did not show much desire to succeed.

North Carolina State's Pat Thomas impressed scouts all day with his athletic and intense play.  Thomas batted down several balls in pass coverage and made a point to hit anyone that caught a pass in his zone.  Arnold Harrison of Georgia also demonstrated athleticism as well as the ability to effectively move upfield, in reverse, or laterally.

The defensive backs had a rough time all day.  Ohio State's Dustin Fox has solid fundamentals yet was beaten almost every time he was tested in practice.  Fox may not be quick enough to start in the NFL.  Andrew Guman, the physical safety from Penn State, was only effective against the run.  Sidney Haugabrook a small player that stared at Delaware last year, was the most impressive of the defensive backs.  Haugabrook stayed low in his backpedal and did not come out until necessary.  He is not a physical presence but displayed all the tools  needed to play cornerback.

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