Here's today's practice report. If you're reading this now and not watching the Spartans getting pummeled by the Tarheels then, well, I can't so much blame you.
Everything you're looking for is after the jump.
The offensive line is not good right now. I am sick of hearing all these people use the excuse that it is only because they are going up against a dominant defensive line. While this is true, it still does not excuse how poorly they are performing. Markuson and Decker need to whip these guys into shape, fast.
The scrimmage Saturday should give you an idea of how much they need to improve. Bluntly, they looked like a bunch of pansies. So, what was the focal point of today's practice? Hitting, and lots of it.
It was a fun practice to watch. The quarterbacks spent most of the practice working on technique and mechanics, the receivers were drilled on catching and the rest of the team was beating the crap out of each other.
My favorite drill came at the beginning of practice and was called the "chute." Coaches Price and Markuson took their respective lines to the end zone where there was some trampoline-type thing (I know, great term). There, a member of the offensive line and the defensive line would get in the three-point stance under the "chute" and then attempt to drive each other out from under it. The defense definitely got the better of the o-line in this drill. Rishaw Johnson showed some really nice flashes in this drill, simply blowing up his opponent at times. Josh Tatum did not. He is not good. He gets beat off the line, overpowered and embarrassed constantly in practice.
Bradley Sowell didn't show me very much either. He gets off the line quickly, but has awful technique and no strength. Markuson was continually telling him the same thing, but Sowell was not executing. I know he has a bit of a bum ankle but so many of his problems weren't at all related to his feet/legs.
After the "chute" the lines went and practiced some goal line situations. Once again, the defense clearly had the better performance. Emmanuel Stephens abused Sowell when he lined up against him. Patrick Trahan and Allen Walker also had some nice blitzes and wrap-ups during the drill. It was during this drill where you could see just how much work the offensive line really needs. At one point, the first team offensive line was going up against a front seven that included Lamark Armour, Justin Smith and Rodney Steen (ed: who?), and still had trouble holding them at bay. It is painfully obvious that Neely and Geralds have played some quality football based on the growing pains seen with Sowell and Johnson.
I'll try to dwell on some of the positives now and I'll start with the starting linebackers. They are studs. Patrick Trahan looks like a brand new player. He is thicker, just as fast and hits with authority. Allen Walker is the same and Johnathan Cornell is as solid as ever in the middle.
On the defensive line, Lawon Scott had a good day. He and Ted Laurent had little problems disrupting runs up the middle and getting into the backfield. Powe practiced but did not have shoulder pads on today. His wrist injury seems to have become a bit agitated. Also, Craig Drummond has a ways to go with regards to conditioning. He was struggling at the end, more so than the other players.
The corners are solid. Marshay Green and Cassius Vaughn look great, and I've seen good things from Marcus Temple and Jeremy McGee. I didn't notice the safeties too much, but Johnny Brown had a big time hit on Gerald Harris during the scrimmage.
The quarterbacks? Jevan looked solid, but during the scrimmage he had to rush his throws due to a lack of time. He still had some beautiful passes, including two long ones to Summers and Breaux.
Austin used a little trickery in the scrimmage with a play out of the Wild Rebel. McCluster took the snap and handed to Bolden, who tossed it to Snead. The defense obviously wasn't anticipating it, because no one was with in 15 yards of Summers when he caught the pass from Jevan.
Devin Thomas had a big day in the backfield. The guy is quick and runs very low to the ground. Cordera Eason struggled while Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis had good days.
That's it. Back to basketball.
(EDIT: Juco All-American is better at writing than I am. He fixes my mistakes and makes me look less dumb.)