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Wednesday's practice notes
While the rest of the team is going through walk-throughs, the kickers are booting kickoffs. Teeing it up at the thirty with a bout a 10 MPH wind at their backs, Ernster puts the first one about 3 yards deep in the end zone.
Reed kicks one to the 2 yard line.
Ernster puts one 8 yards deep into the end zone. He’s kicking it farther than Reed, but the trajectory is about 20 feet shallower at its highest point than Reed’s kicks. So, I’m not sure how much we’d gain by having Ernster kick off instead of Reed.
Reed is the only one who practices the on-side kick. He drops 3 right where he wants them, then hits one too far, out of bounds.
Ernster puts one 1 yard out of the end zone, but again it was more of a line drive. Still, if the ball’s going out of the end zone, pretty tough to return it.
In the walk-through, Washington makes a fancy one-handed catch. Too bad he can’t do that with his shoulder pads and helmet on.
Aside from the good hands people, the on-side kick first team has Fox, Humpal, Frazier, Madison, and Mason. Might bode well for them, if you’re rooting for any of them to make the team.
After stretches, the team splits and I go off into the farthest corner to watch the DB’s. It’s all the way across 3 fields, so I’ll miss a couple of the first plays when they go to the scrimmage. Troy is there in street clothes. I was hoping to see them going through some drills, but for 10 minutes they have walk-throughs on rotating coverages. Nasty stuff. I’d hate to be a rookie trying to remember all that crap.
While they’re doing that, the defensive linemen are hitting the three man sled as groups. Of course Hoke comes up to take the hits with the first line. Paxson takes the nose for the second line between Eason and Kirschke. With McBean, Prince and Clement running as the third line. The third line doesn’t hit the sled anywhere near as hard as the first two lines.
The linemen then switch to delivering a two-handed jam to the man, then clubbing him aside. The RDE hits with his right arm, the LDE with his left. The nose tackles take turns on each side.
Paxson is very quick, he hits the man hard and has a nice club, but at the end of the delivery, he doesn’t push the man behind him with the same authority that Smith and Keisel do. Still, he looks pretty good.
Prince has bad form, he’s slapping the man instead of clubbing, his arm is coming across his body in a push motion instead of being stiff, straight out and used as a club. Coach Mitchell has some words with him about it.
Casey Hampton is off on the lower, fourth field. He’s in shorts and an un-numbered jersey, and a helmet, running maneuvers by himself. He’s coming out of his stance and cutting like a wide receiver, I guess to get his legs under him. It looks like he’s lost about 20 pounds since I saw him at the first practice, another 20 and he’ll look like he did last year. Another 50 and he’ll be back to his rookie form. Even with the extra weight, he’s the most agile of our defensive linemen. Kinda makes me sad to think that, just like Levon Kirkland, the only thing that stood between him and a shot at the Hall of Fame was the tickle of Twinkies on the tonsils.
Ike leaves the practice briefly to go to the bathroom (too much info?)
On the far field, they’re running post patterns, Dixon misses Sherrod, a couple yards behind him.
They try it again, and this time Dixon hits him in the numbers. He’s getting on the same page as the receivers more and more. As he does, you can tell he’s far more of a natural passer than someone like Kordell was. He has a better motion, looser arm, he looks more like a QB.
Potts hits Ward in stride.
Dixon hits #13 in stride (still not sure who #13 is, he’s a tiny white guy who’s pretty shifty and sure handed, but has no shot of making the team)
They practice rolling out. To the right first. Ben hits Miller in stride.
Batch hits Spaeth in stride.
When Dixon rolls out, he’s smooth like a wide receiver, he hits Sherrod in stride.
They roll to the left, and Dixon throws one behind Sherrod.
Ben hits Miller in stride.
Batch throws one behind Spaeth.
Dixon hits Miller in stride.
Potts throws on at Sherrod’s ankles.
The DT’s are taking on the double team. Hoke holds his ground and splits the double team. (of course, keep in mind this is the other defensive linemen acting as blockers, so the guys may look a little better holding their ground in these drills than they would against real offensive linemen.)
All of the linemen look good holding their ground except McBean. He may be the most athletic of our defensive linemen, but unfortunately he is also the worst football player of the group. Too bad.
The inside linebackers are zig-zaagging through 4 full sized dummies, clubbing them as they go though to simulate fighting their way through traffic. Timmons is very quick though the line and hits the dummies hard.
Humpal is even quicker through the line, but doesn’t hit the dummies as hard.
Farrior is smooth and flawless, he times the hits just right and strides perfectly to get through as fast as possible while inflicting the hardest blows. Then he clowns around by stomping one of the dummies that refuses to stand on its own.
Foote looks good in the drill, he’s quick. Not quite as powerful as Timmons or Farrior, but but better than the other ILB’s
Fox is weak at hitting the dummies. I think the coaching staff has a tough decision to make with him. He is clearly the toughest of our special teamers to block, but he is also a problem as a linebacker if he’s forced to come in the game. If we get a couple injuries and he has to come in, opponents will attack him with great success IMO.
The defensive backs finally start their drills. They have a grid of strings set up to simulate going through tires like we old-timers used to do. Travis Williams is very quick through the tires, quicker than Mundy who struggles a bit.
#21 missteps a bit. There’s no defensive #21 on my roster, just Moore. So, since there’s no #25 out on the field, I’m assuming Clark is wearing #21 for some reason for now. He has the most sure hands of the DB’s as they are thrown the ball after getting through the grid.
Ike is the smoothest and most powerful of the DB’s going through the grid.
Anthony Smith is very quick through the grid. I’m really ticked off at him right now for what he does later in the practice, but I can’t deny that he has great footwork. Of the safeties, he’s the only one whose footwork is as good as the corner’s.
Williams goes through again, and looks very good, smooth, fluid.
Assuming Clark is #21, he doesn’t look too quick stepping through the grid.
Mundy almost trips, his footwork is worse than just about anyone.
Grant Mason does trip up, gets his feet tangled in the string. He better hope he makes an impression on special teams, because he’s clearly not on the same agility level as the other guys.
The DB’s turn to tackling drills, tackling the sled. Mundy hits the sled too high with his butt up and his back bowed. The coach gives him some instruction and he comes back and looks better doing it, but he’s still a bit too high.
Anthony Smith misses the sled, it glances off the tip of his shoulder and spins him around. The other DB’s get a chuckle out of it and give him some crap. He comes back and hits the thing hard with good form. Just lost concentration the first time I guess.
Roy Lewis really hits the sled hard. Good form, gets his butt down and picks it up. He’s not much on footwork, but he looks like a solid tackler.
On the middle field, the tight ends are blocking on the OLB’s, the drill is simple, the tight end tries to get outside the OLB and hook him. Miller hooks Donovan Woods and seals him off.
They try Arnold Harrison against Miller, and Miller seals him off too with perfect form.
Patrick Bailey beats Speath. Speath looks a half second too slow getting out of his stance to effectively get outside the OLB.
They go again, and Speath does a better job, doesn’t get him completely sealed off, but gets in good enough position to make it difficult for Bailey to make the play.
Dekker is quick and gets in position to block Bruce Davis, but Davis is too strong for him and gets around anyway, Dekker has to hold him.
They try again, and Davis beats him outside.
Woodley tosses Miller aside like he’s a rag doll.
Spaeth can’t get outside position on Timmons. Not sure what Timmons is doing working out with the OLB’s.
Miller hooks Andre Frazier and seals him off.
Dekker and Bruce Davis stalemate. Davis doesn’t get turned, but Dekker gets him tied up.
They try again, and Davis throws Dekker side and gets outside.