ED: Frontpag'd. More fine work from EtOH Reb.
Starting with the random bit of information for the day, Brishen “Joe Dirt” Matthews apparently decided that his hair was affecting his play so he started out practice with it wrapped up in a red colored cafeteria lady-style bun.
Now, the lengthy, lengthy stuff after the jump.
Practice started out with about 20 to 30 minute focused on special teams. I only watched field goal kickers sparingly, but the few kicks I did see seemed to have pretty good distance as well as accuracy. Sorry to be so vague on the subject.
Tyler Campbell was really booming his punts today, with 3 or 4 of them hitting the ceiling. I’m still not sure how much if any control he has on his kicks with respect to direction.
Prior to stretching, there were 4 Rebels practicing punt returns: Jesse Grandy, Derrick Herman, Brandon Bolden, and Markeith Summers. Markeith and Brandon looked unsure of themselves, with Bolden muffing one pretty badly. After stretching, they did more punt returns and Bolden was nowhere to be seen. In his place, Jeff Scott got a chance to take a few punts; more on JScott later.
After this I mostly watched the offense, with the defensive backs being involved a good bit with what I saw.
During drills, got a glimpse of the running backs catching balls; Enrique Davis caught everything thrown to him, but those sure look like fryin’ pan hands if I’ve ever seen them. He looks lucky every time he comes down with it.
I saw a stark difference in Mr. Mackey today. He looked like a Quarterback today as opposed to just an athlete. He threw darts, perfect spirals, and a beautiful touch pass for a 20 yard out during skeletons. He also looks like he could be deadly running a speed option. At one point he ran an option and tossed to Rodney Scott. The toss hit Scott in the chest and he would have had 10-15 yards easy had he not managed to drop the ball.
Masoli throws the ball really well. While he may not have quite the arm strength of Stanley(and if he doesn’t, he’s not lacking by much), his throws are effortless. More importantly, the thing that stands out to me is that the balls he throws are extremely CATCHABLE. They either hit receivers right in the hands or chest and it’s unusually soft. It seems as though he places the ball in the receivers’ hands as opposed to forcing it there, if that makes any sense.
We ran the triple option again today with all three QBs out of the shotgun/pistol/pro form set.
Neat spent most of his time working with wide receivers today.
About halfway through practice, Vincent Sanders joined the party wearing number 11(though the roster said he’d wear number 17). I dunno what I think about another Noxubee County receiver wearing 11. By the way, he looks just as skinny as Jesse Grandy, just add about 2 inches of height. He’s definitely speedy though and looked pretty good running routes. During drills he managed to drop the first ball thrown his way, but did score on a quick slant at the goal line. He also caught a ball during the scrimmage on a 15 yard curl route against a zone defense.
The roster says that Lionel Breaux is 6’0” tall. That’s utter bullshit. There’s no way he’s six foot with stripper platform shoes on. He played really well today...I’d say the best of any of the receivers as far as consistency goes. I’m starting to think he’s ready to be a lead receiver for us.
There was a great competition on the 1v1 drill with Receivers and Cornerbacks(lined up on 10 or 15 going to goal line). The Receivers did surprisingly well most of the time. Melvin Harris was beaten out for an underthrown fade by Jeremy McGee but came right back a few plays later and scored on a better thrown ball. Charles Sawyer competed pretty well during this drill. The big loser here was Markeith Summers. Twice he beat the cornerback, got hit in the hands and managed to drop the ball. I’m worried about him being the lead horse. Ja-Mes Logan performed admirably here and scored several times.
Interestingly, in skeletons Mackey took the second reps after Stanley, though I wouldn’t read too much into it. Markeith dropped another ball in skeletons before redeeming himself with a deep ball from Masoli for a touchdown. Most notable here was a super interception on the part of Frank Crawford from the arm of Nathan Stanley. I know he’s only played corner for a few weeks/months, but he has all the tools to be a good one. This season, I expect a boom or bust type player, but eventually he’ll be a stud. Finally, skeletons saw a series of deep balls from all three quarterbacks to Ja-Mes, Markeith, and Melvin Harris.
Nick Parker showed nice hands out of the backfield along with the ability to quickly get upfield throughout the practice. If he puts on a little weight, he could be an ideal fullback. Also impressive was Martez Eastland, who got the opportunity to run a FB draw during the scrimmage. His surprising speed caught the entire defense off guard.
The scrimmage was mostly dominated by the defense. Stanley had the most success against a full squad, but Masoli looks like he’s had the playbook for only a week. I think he’ll improve drastically over the course of camp.
During the scrimmage, the running backs entered in the following order(read into this what you will):
1-Enrique Davis 2-Jeff Scott 3-Brandon Bolden 4-Rodney Scott 5-Devin Thomas 6-Derrick Herman(boy has got some wiggle) 7-Nick Parker
Masoli threw his first pick during the scrimmage to what appeared to be Marcus Temple. This looked like a case of him locking on to a receiver(don’t worry, I don’t think it’s systemic).
The ref took a beating throughout practice from Coach Vaughn, who felt like he deserved a few offensive pass interference calls.
Just like yesterday, the offense lined up in an I form and then shifted out to the Wild Rebel. I still like this. Another play call that worked well was a simple draw for Masoli. He easily got 8 yards and could have gotten more if he was trying to run over people.
Devin Thomas looked good in the small amount of time he was given. Hope he gets more.
One of the few defensive players I noticed was Carlos Thompson. That boy is extremely tall and long and he looks really athletic. He just needs to start attending the weekly Powe household dinner.
May be small, but it was nice to see Stanley slap hands [ED: That's called a "high five"] with Masoli after nice completions.
Stanley did pretty well when the defense played zone coverage. He threaded the needle a few times, completing a ball to Ja-Mes and having another ball dropped by Markeith.
Stanley threw a screen pass to Jeff Scott and I swear that kid was 50 yards downfield before you could blink. I can’t believe how fast he is. We need to put him on kickoff returns with Grandy. Also, he changed numbers today from 6 to 3. No idea why.
The coaches finished off practice with the two minute drill, one for Masoli and one for Stanley. Masoli scrambled on the first play and it looked dead. Then, he somehow escaped leaving the entire defensive sideline ooohing and laughing at whoever tried to tackle him. His series ended with an incomplete pass. Stanley’s series ended with a ball tipped at the line...it was intercepted by Cameron Whigham.
A.J. Hawkins doesn’t put the ball on the ground, but his snap is extremely slow. This causes issues when running an option, especially with our pass rush.
Melvin Harris still has a chance to help us. He got behind the defense on numerous occasions and made 3 or 4 deep catches for huge gains or touchdowns. When he catches the ball with his hands, he almost always comes down with it. The one time he tried to shield off the defender and catch with his body, the ball ended up on the turf.