Crowded Practice Fields For The Senior Bowl

<b>MOBILE, Ala. - </b>The practice fields for the Senior Bowl are getting more crowded as head coaches are making their way into Mobile to scout the nations top upperclassmen.&nbsp; Besides the usual lot of players and scouts, unemployed coaches, eligible underclassmen and walking wounded roamed both practice sessions today.

Former Tulsa coach Keith Burns and recently dismissed East Carolina coach Steve Logan were lobbying for employment while often injured senior Antonio Garray of Boston College was visible. yes">  Garray, a top defensive end prospect, saw his chances of playing in this game end after breaking an ankle in October. yes"> Also conspicuous by his presence was Tennessee Volunteer receiver Kelly Washington, who just declared for the draft despite having major neck surgery two months ago.

Besides all the niceties taking place on the sidelines, several players improved their draft stock with solid performances on Tuesday.  Iowa offensive lineman Eric Steinbach had a brilliant session this morning, dominating opponents on every snap.  A guard for the Hawkeye's, Steinbach more than held his own when placed at left tackle and adequately protected the blind side throughout practice.

Fellow Big Ten blocker Tony Pashos also looked imposing and destroyed defenders on the right side.  A mammoth wide body, Pashos also played with a good degree of intelligence and drew favorable responses from coaches on more than one occasion.

Defensive tackle Kevin Williams of Oklahoma State was a force on the inside and beat double teams during the session while Penn State's Michael Haynes also applied pressure off the edge. 

Another Nittany Lion that showed well was record setting running back Larry Johnson who carried the ball and caught it out of the backfield with equal effectiveness today.

At receiver Arnaz Battle of Notre Dame had one of the better practices and displayed an array of pass receiving skills, catching balls all morning long.  Speed, or lack there of, is a concern and Battle needs to pop off a few good forty times at the combine.

During the South's practice in the afternoon Carson Palmer improved on his performance from the previous day as he became more acclimated to the offense and threw strikes all over the field, displaying the ability to hit the target while on the move.  With Byron Leftwich not here many feel Palmer has grasped hold of the draft's top slot.

Chris Simms also had a fine practice and showed himself to be a solid intermediate range passer.  Simms has neither Palmer's arm nor sense of timing but all things considered he has done a fine job the past two days.

TCU linebacker LaMarcus McDonald had an outstanding practice and may have dispelled the rumors he is only a run defender. McDonald was outstanding in pass coverage drills as well as competently defending throws during scrimmage.  That's important for the former Horned Frog as after Monday's weigh-in he is now considered strictly as a weak side linebacker.

Hawaii's Vince Manuwai and Florida State's Montrae Holland both had solid days on the offensive line for the South while cornerback Kevin Garrett improved his play today and had the only interception in the afternoon practice.

After yesterday's fast start, several additional prospects improved their play today as all are gearing up for tomorrow's pair of crucial practices.



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