Shrine Game Practice Report: The West from Monday

Monday's Shrine Game festivities ended with the West team taking the field for their first practice. Coached by Oregon State's Mike Riley and his staff they featured talented players at wide receiver and defensive back along with many local favorites from the Pac Ten conference.

The most impressive player among a talented group of receivers was Hawaii's Chad Owens.  Both quick and fast, Owens practiced under control and excels in both route running and extending to catch the ball.  Earvin Johnson of UNLV was also impressive and made several great catches throughout the day.  Utah's Paris Warren also had a good day running consistent routes and making several nice catches.

The most impressive quarterback was Derek Anderson of Oregon State.  Anderson displayed a strong arm and drove the deep ball downfield even as the late afternoon wind kicked up.  Hawaii's Tommy Chang and Dustin Long, a late game addition from Sam Houston State, threw with accuracy until the winds kicked up.

A pair of running backs caught the eye of scouts.  Nevada's Chance Kretschmer was the best looking ball carrier, running with nice balance and a burst.  He showed no signs that his knees were bothering him, something which concerned scouts.  Former Auburn turned Southern Illinois back Brandon Jacobs looked good catching the ball and only made one mistake as a runner, which was a fumble. Overall Jacobs did not stand out carrying the ball and appears to run too upright for the liking of scouts.

The offensive line for the West team has several athletic players who lack a physical nature.  Washington State's Calvin Armstrong was actually used in pass coverage in drills and joked with coaches about a position switch to linebacker.  When moved back to his tackle spot, Armstrong was neither mean nor physical and got little push from run blocks.  Small school prospect Michael Roos anchored well at left tackle and is swift enough in space to protect the quarterbacks blindside.  Like Armstrong, the Eastern Washington prospect did not look impressive blocking for the running game.

Defensively, the West had several impressive prospects.  Michael Montgomery dominated almost everyone he faced in individual drills.  The tackle from Texas A&M also showed well during scrimmages, getting pressure on the quarterback and making plays in the backfield against the run.  His college teammate Marcus Jasmin looks huge and practiced that way.  Jasmin started the day off getting into a scuffle when he threw an offensive lineman to the ground well after a play was over.  UNLV's Adam Seward looked good at middle linebacker getting depth on pass drops and displaying lateral speed. 

The secondary from the West was probably the best looking unit from both teams.  Kansas State's Cedric Williams and Karl Payham of Washington State were both good cornerbacks today with different styles.  Williams is a smallish/non-physical corner that used his incredible speed and quickness to stick with receivers across the field.  Payham, on the other hand, physically beat down opponents yet also showed the speed to stick with receivers across the field.   Payham was always in the right position and made several plays on the ball.  Aric Williams was another physical corner today but the Oregon State product did not show the speed needed to stay with receivers in the NFL.

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