Thursday Practice Report

Thursday was the final practice for both teams and a no pads day. For the linemen it meant a break after three sessions of grueling one-on-one drills and full scrimmage hitting but for the quarterbacks, pass catchers and prospects in the secondary, it was another chance to get a good look at their skills.

A pair of receivers stood out this morning; Kevin Curtis and Bobby Wade. Curtis is a natural receiver that caught everything thrown his way and dove all over the field to make the reception. His route running skills are outstanding as is his sense of timing; the problem is speed or lack thereof. Bobby Wade also had a solid pass catching session in the morning.

One player that turned heads was Mike Pinkard, who filled in for the injured LJ Smith. Pinkard immediately became the best tight end for either team when he stepped on the field yesterday. His athleticism is apparent and he was solid as a pass catcher or blocker.

Another replacement that did reasonably well was Tully Banta-Cain who replaced a pair of injured defensive ends for the North (Terrance Martin and Calvin Pace). Banta-Cain looked relatively effective on short notice and at the end of the session was pulled aside by the Texans coaching staff who put him through a battery of linebacker drills to assess if the Cal defensive end can play outside linebacker in a three-four scheme.

One who passed that acid test was Chris Kelsay as the former NU defensive end spent much of the morning standing up over tackle and had a fine practice.

A trio of linebackers picked up the pace today as Angelo Crowell, Victor Hobson and Gerald Hayes all looked solid with Hayes and Crowell having their best sessions of the week.

Running back Larry Johnson returned from the stomach flu and did an exceptional job carrying the ball and catching it while Artose Pinner also ran well.

None of the quarterbacks stood out; Kyle Boller was very indecisive during scrimmage, Dave Ragone looks as though he's still suffering from the cabin fever left over from his senior season and Seneca Wallace needs to put some touch on his throws rather than try to impress people by continuing to fire the ball in there.

Finally a pair of corners were beaten unmercifully all morning and saw their draft rankings dip. DeJaun Groce was beaten several times for touchdowns but he had an MVP day compared to Shane Walton who never turned back to the pass and was the favorite cornerback to throw to during practice for the North quarterbacks.

------Tony Pauline- TFY Draft Preview






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