Whiskey Wednesday, Juco All-American, and yours truly have been predisposed for the overwhelming majority of the weekend. We hoped that a few of the other cupdaters and friends of the cup (fotc's) would help us out with weekend baseball and football practice coverage but, unfortunately, they didn't. They're bums. They know who they are and I can only hope that the shame and guilt of their shortcomings pains their heart in a way that only emoGregxx could understand.
Having that been said, we were able to gather some practice and scrimmage notes this afternoon from a friend. They're fairly general but pithy enough to be interesting.
The defense looked good. Coach Nix brought a few safety blitzes that worked very well. They were very similar, if not identical, to the blitzes we ran in the Cotton Bowl.
Marshay Green continues to amaze everyone. He has really begun to hit his stride and is becoming a very good corner. No, he's not elite in coverage or at tackling, but he is definitely one of the best we've had at that position in a while. He's also a crazy mad shit talker at times which, in my opinion, you need somewhere on D. He ended practice with a great interception.
The DL continues to show depth, strength, and aggression. If Powe can be 75% of what Peria was and if Greg Hardy can be 100% of what he is capable of being we will essentially be able to pick up where we left off last season.
The offense was hit or miss. Nathan Stanley looked pretty good as he continued to show his incredible touch on the deep ball. He's not incredible with the intermediate and short routes, but he's got more than enough time to improve that. He had a gorgeous deep pass over the middle to Jecarious Lucas (remember him?) which would have been a big play had Lucas not been caught staring at the sun.
We're stupid deep at halfback. Just as with last season, we won't worry about having a fresh set of serviceable legs on the field at any given moment. Enrique Davis was solid. He broke off some runs which really excited everyone in attendance. Andre Sterling looked good along with Devin Thomas, who both showed strength and speed. Some worry that Eason could get buried in the depth chart with essentially everybody looking basass over these last few practices.
Our wideouts looked alright. Markeith Summers has great moves after the catch and is quite physical. Andrew Harris is raw, but a definite physical specimen.
Other than that, Friday's practice was fairly basic and didn't leave much to be desired.
There's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that our defense was way too good. The bad news is that the offensive line is doughy and slow. Their shortfalls caused most of the offense's problems.
The OL was dominated today by the DL in both run blocking and pass blocking. Our top 3 backs, Bolden, Davis, and Eason all had forgettable days as holes were simply not opening up for them.
However, 3rd teamers Devin Thomas and Andre Sterling both showed speed and vision at times. Thomas had a 20 yard catch off of a swing pass that led to him cutting to the sideline and getting upfield quickly. He also had took the ball on a draw up the middle before dancing around a few guys and breaking open a 20 yard TD. Sterling had a very similar play where he made a few nice moves then turned on the jets for another 20 yard score. Thomas and Sterling have been impressive and will add quality depth this fall.
Jevan had no time in the pocket whatsoever. He would turn around off of play action and a defender would be in his face. He wasn't very spectacular out there, but neither were most of the Rebels on offense. Nathan Stanley showed some great patience, waiting for plays to come to him instead of him trying to make them happen. However, just as with Jevan, he was nowhere near perfect. He mixed incredible deep passes with HB swings which fluttered over the receiver's head. If need be, Stanley could be a fine quarterback this year in that our offense won't go completely limp-dicked with him calling the signals. However, he's not the guy Jevan is.
There were a few drops from receivers but they were few and far between. The drop which stands out the most is when Lionel Breaux burnt Jeremy McCgee with a skinny post before dropping a deep pass from Snead and botching what would have been a touchdown. Shay Hodge continued to prove why he is the number one receiver on the team with his hands, body control, and physicality. Andrew Harris is also quite good, but there’s still room for improvement as he had trouble adjusting to catch a deep pass from Stanley. Markeith Summers also a nice day with a TD catch from Snead. Jecarious Lucas continues to get a lot of reps and has shown good hands. Who knows, the guy may get playing time in the fall if he keeps this up. I mean, I wouldn't bet a damn dime on it, but it could happen. There was one play where it became obvious that we would miss Mike Wallace. It was a deep ball down the right side that was just barely overthrown to Summers. If Wallace was still here it would have been 6, no doubt.
As mentioned above the Defense is stout. The DB’s were everywhere. Jeremy McGee started off the day with a pick 6. Jevan dropped back and tried to hit a hitch route but McGee read it early, jumped it, and took it 50 yards to the house. McGee had a tremendous day today and is really coming along nicely. The usual suspects (Cassius Vaughn, Marshay Green, Johnny Brown and Kendrick Lewis) all had a good day. They're all quick and, with the exception of Cassius Vaughn, very aggressive. I have also noted that Marcus Temple was in on a break up and is having a good spring. If you'll remember, Temple had the initial hit on Tim Tebow during his failed 4th and 1 attempt which iced the victory for our Rebels. Julian Whitehead, the young Hargrave product, is doing nicely and will add good depth to our team. Just as with last season, Demarro Marr isn’t progressing as most would like. Many were disappointed with him today just as with the rest of the week.
Taking all things into consideration, Nutt and staff have done an excellent job filling out a position which we were paper thin at when O dA cOaCh was axed. Add Hornsby and Barksdale (if they make it) and we begin to look stacked at secondary.
Speaking of Hornsby, he was watching the practice and looked great, he was tall and built. He looked like he could come in right away and contribute so let's hope that, ummm, he didn't hit a guy in a McDonalds parking lot and won't go to jail.
While we are thin at the position, our starters at linebacker are fantastic. John Cornell, Allen Walker, and Patrick Trahan are solid tacklers who can fly all over the field and get to the ball with some pop. It's nasty shit, y'all.
We have two pretty solid backups with Brumfield and Jason Jones. However, I believe a spot lays open for a freshman to come in and contribute, such as Shackelford, Marry, or maybe even Kight.
If the scrimmage is any indicator, our DLine won't be much to worry about come football season. We're stacked there.
Thanks to the Mazz Uno for the information. We'll be more diligent with the upcoming practices. Pinky promise.