I'm back from Memphis, and I was sure glad to make it out to practice today. It was a helluva show. I'm going to be careful what I write about because some of the stuff I did see today should stay secret.
Today was a kicking scrimmage inside Bobby Dodd Stadium. The players were wearing pads and were split into two teams. One team in blue on the east sideline and one team in white on the west sideline. There was no offense and defense today. The teams moved the ball by either punting, kicking a field goal, or faking either of the two. If a team scored, they kicked off to the other team. The players were fired up and it appeared they were having a great time out there.
1. I counted 8 players on the beach. I think most of the injuries are non-serious, and most of the players there were ones that were banged up yesterday. I hope to see fewer players in red jerseys come Monday or Tuesday.
2. Dwyer and Roddy spent the whole scrimmage running up and down the sidelines. Nesbitt was suited up, but he did not participate in any of the drills.
3. Let me start by making a list of people that had a pretty darn good day: Antonio Wilson, Anthony Allen, Jerrard Tarrant, TJ Barnes, Bay-Bay Thomas (this is the way he signed pictures yesterday), BJ Machen, Derrick Morgan, Chandler Anderson, Morgan Burnett, and Scott Blair (for the most part). Each one of these guys made a great special teams play. Antonio Wilson blocked a punt and Derrick Morgan recovered the ball at the offense's one yard line. Anthony Allen caught a lateral type pass on a fake and took it for the first down. He also ran for a first down on a fake. Jerrard Tarrant reversed the ball across the field several times on a special teams play that ended 80 yards down field. He also plastered Cooper Taylor on a punt return. Cooper may have gotten one yard. TJ Barnes blocked a very long field goal. Bay-Bay caught a pass on a fake for a touchdown. It was a 30 yard pass and Bay-Bay had to jump over Roderick Sweeting to catch it. BJ Machen leveled Dan Voss on a punt return by Derrick Morgan. Yes, I did say Derrick Morgan. They ran an all linemen punt return several times just for fun. Derrick Morgan actually had a nice return on that one play. Chandler Anderson was consistent and impressive all day. He belted one punt that probably went about 60 yards. I think Blair can cross one kicking duty off his list. Anderson just got the job done. Morgan Burnett swatted a punted ball at the one yard line keeping it from going into the endzone. He dove and timed it perfectly. Scott Blair had a pretty decent day kicking field goals. He missed a couple, but sure looked accurate most of the day even when the team on the opposite sideline was chanting his girlfriend's name and calling him something I can't mention on the blog.
4. Players that didn't have such a good day: Stephen Hill, Chris Tanner, and Nick McRae. Stephen Hill does not look like an option on punt returns. He is too indecisive and tries to make way too many cuts before turning it up the field. There were several times where he could have just kept running and he would have gotten many more yards, but he ultimately chose to try and shake a player and ended up being stopped because of it. Chris Tanner is fairly accurate, but today showed me that he has a very weak leg. He did several kickoffs that barely got inside the 20 yard line. Nick McRae was sent out there to return a punt. He tried catching the ball at his own one yard line, but dropped it. The other team recovered it and fell into the endzone. I think he should stick to playing on the offensive line.
I think that pretty much sums up today's happenings. I could list a lot more, but I don't want to list how the fakes worked and how the punt units lined up. I feel good about us faking field goals and punts now. I think we could do it with a pretty good success rate. Chandler Anderson showed up to play today and I was impressed. I hope the kicking game continues to get better.