Sorry I took so long to post this. I was hungry and needed some water. There is not a whole lot of new stuff to talk about, but let's get down to business.
It was another scorcher out there today. There was an occasional breeze and small area of shade, but that never lasted very long. Players were vocal and ready to start practice. They were still just wearing helmets and shorts.
1. No one new was on the beach today. This is always good news.
2. They started off with punt returns again today, and the punting looked a lot better than it was yesterday. It was hard to tell who was punting, but the whole unit looked pretty solid in putting the ball about 40 yards down field. They really didn't work on doing an returns. They just worked on formations and reads. Shortly after punt returns, they began to work on timing for kickoffs. Scott Blair had no trouble consistently putting the ball down inside the 10 yard line. I think this is his real specialty.
3. Today involved just as much passing as yesterday, if not more. The QBs started off with one on one passing to the A-backs and receivers with the DBs in coverage. The QBs looked pretty sharp at times and were consistent. Stephen Hill looked very impressive. He was making some spectacular grabs out there. He would occasionally out jump a DB to go up and make the catch. He is going to push for playing time immediately (well, if his blocking is good enough). I still noticed a lot of drops today. Bebe and Anthony Allen were the two that come to mind. Hopefully it was just them having a bad day. Bebe looks like a giant among men out there.
4. The real fun today came during 7-on-7 passing drills. There is no easy way to say this; it started off like a nightmare. The QBs (all of them) were repeatedly sailing passes over the A-backs and receivers. There were even a couple of interceptions early on. Even if the QB placed the ball near the receiver or A-back, they would find a way to drop it. Then something changed. I don't know if it was a little word of advice from the coaches or if the QBs just needed time to settle in, but things started to take off. Nesbitt calmed down and made some amazing passes right on the money. He hit Marcus Wright in a narrow window surrounded by 4 defenders. He had to thread a needle to find little Marcus, but he did it. Josh also hit Bebe on a beautifully timed, perfect, flag route. It couldn't have looked any better. Jaybo's passes looked sharp on short routes, but he seemed to be off when dealing with longer routes. One receiver popped one of Jaybo's passes in the air and it got intercepted. Both Sims and Luallen showed moments of brilliance, but they couldn't seem to get any consistency. One play Luallen simply chucked the ball in the air, and got a couple of hot words from the coaches. He should have just pulled down the ball and ran with it. Sims at times looked lost in what was going on in the secondary (he was being a freshmen). Our DBs came away with several interceptions and pass break ups. I'm not worried at all about their athleticism and coverage skills.
5. The last part of practice involved the offense and defense splitting up and doing team drills. The defense worked on play recognition and getting to the ball carrier. The entire offense worked on running option plays with a couple of pass plays thrown in. I counted about 4 fumbles today from the offense in just running simple option plays. You would think that they would all be from the freshmen, but the starters had a couple of mishaps that looked pretty bad. I'm sure that they were just timing issues and bad snaps. These kinks will get worked out before Fall practice ends (at least I hope).
Overall, today showed a lot of promise. Our passing game looked horrible at some points, but at other times, I was simply blown away with it. Tomorrow the team will be wearing shells so we will probably see a little more contact, and be able to draw out some more info about where the team is progressing or falling.