So the team came out in full shells today. I swear, I about foamed at the mouth when I heard the first good crack of the shoulder pads. And as you might expect in the first day of pads, the defense was on fire, talking trash, and generally taking out their frustrations on the white-clad offenders. I watched the offensive line intensely today, but as a 5’10, 175 pounder, my (limited) football experience occurred outside of the hashes, so I have a hard time telling exactly what’s going on in the trenches. That said, here are the notes for the day.
None of the other quarterbacks showed much today. Stanley again played more than Tapp, and Cotton had a mishandled snap that the defense ate up, as well as a few mediocre passes. Despite the poor results, his passes are looking a little sharper. I’d blame most of the quarterbacks’ struggles on a lively defense and very basic offensive playcalling. It wasn’t as if they were trying too hard to fool anyone.
I’ll continue to pimp Rodney Scott until I see reason not to. He’s shifty, and his vision and balance show promise. I want to see this kid play. Tim Simon also continues to impress me. It’d be a shame to pull an Antonio Turner on him and move a perfectly good back to the defense, especially when he’s busting ass out there like that.
The receivers are a unit that needs to step it up. Snead found Breaux settling in some zone pockets today, but other than that, open men were hard to find. Ja-Mes Logan had some chances to make amazing catches today, but didn’t bring down any of the tough grabs. Same could be said for Patterson, though he’s going up against the starters more often, so the competition is tougher. Overall, nothing the receivers did really wowed me except for a couple of layout grabs, one on a slant by Dex, another on a comeback route by Andrew Harris. Both were well covered, but both guys came down with it. Melvin Harris continues to impress me with his speed getting off the line, but I’m still waiting to see Snead throw a jump ball his direction. He did muscle by a corner playing inside man on him to make a nice catch over the middle.
Contartesi continues to catch a lot of balls. Maybe he’ll play. Sorry if that doesn’t excite me. I like height and size, not spunk and daughter date-ability.
Z Mason showed some tenacity blocking today, but the only pass I saw come his way was a low hummer from Cotton that the coaches thought Z could’ve caught.
Sowell had a much better day than he did yesterday. He seems like he’s pretty good at turning his man away from the play, but not so great at just blowing their shit up. He made me feel a little better, but I still want to see more strength from him.
Massie spent most of his time on the 2nd team today, but performed pretty well. I want to see him move a little faster to engage his blocker, and move to the second level.
Brandon Green took first team snaps at right guard today instead of Rishaw Johnson. Didn’t notice if Rishaw was playing on the 2nd team or not, or if he was just out for some reason.
The offense set up several halfback screens today, and most of the time, the line did a good job of getting downfield to block.
Gerald Pow got him a innerception!!!!!!@omgomgomg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Seriously though, Powe did make a sticky-fingered pick on a ball that was still moving pretty fast, and turned it upfield with an alacrity that had people’s jaws dropping, followed by uncontrollable laughter. Sorry Jerrell, you look hilarious when you sprint. The defense on the sidelines went nuts (NUTTS!!!!LOLOLOL) and rushed the field. I narrowly avoided trample-ation by the jubilant defenders.
I was impressed by Hardy at times today, but other times, it still looked obvious that he was taking it slow. Fine by me. Just get ready to destroy Stephen Garcia.
The linebackers are looking fast, and I’ve been excited about this group since the end of last year. People who think this will be a weakness are wrong. These guys can play. The freshmen will end up providing good depth by midseason. Kight looks really thick. He had a pass deflection that ended up being caught anyways, but he did a good job finding the ball in the air. Bad luck.
K. Lewis had a pick today, on a pressure by Kentrell Lockett. J. McGee added another on a pass that was left short by Stanley. Marcus Temple manned up well against Andrew Harris in a redzone situation. Harris could’ve caught it, but Temple got his hands in Harris’ face and wrenched it away.
Barksdale got in for a couple of plays today, but he was the only one not wearing pads, so he didn’t hit anyone. I’ll try to watch Johnny Brown some more as the scrimmages get more realistic; I’m interested to see how he picks up the defensive schemes.
Sound bytes from today:
"DON’T HURT HIM, BOBBY!!" -- another linemen, after Massie roughed up Emmanuel McCray
"This staff didn’t used to like little guys… Now they’re signing ‘em like… popcorn" –a friend of Yancy Porter’s, and fellow abuser of English slangs and idioms.
"Terry Price leads the SEC in cusswords per second, not even close" –Sideline observer
"Dexter McCluster is my friend!!! I know him!!!" –Greg Hardy, after a trick play converted by Dex
"Coach's gonna make us do up n' downs after practice. It's our reward/punishment. He don't like it when the D dominates. Kinda bittersweet... Like Sour Patch kids" -- defender who will remain unnamed, in the interest of not getting him in trouble. It was too funny to leave out.
That’s all I’ve got for now, tune in tomorrow, and don’t miss this weekend, when JUCO will actually show his face in Oxford and accompany me at practice.