I finally made it out to a practice today (Wednesday) and here are a few of my observations.
Martel Moore and Perez Ashford stood out among the freshman wideouts. Ashford has great hands as advertised. They're like a steel clamp on the ball when it arrives.
Preston Williams looks like he might be able to contribute some if they want to redshirt a few of the freshmen wideouts.
Furqan Muhammad is tiny and looks like a real project at wideout. He looks like he's never played the position and has a lot to learn.
Tailback was Meco Brown followed by Chad Spann and Justin Anderson in that order. Ricky Crider was running around in shorts and looked like he was running OK so hopefully he will be back soon. I did not see Antoine Kirkland get any reps while I was there. I did not notice Cameron Bell at all.
- The first team offense and defense took a lot of reps so it looks like they're getting ready to play now and working the backups less.
- The first team offense included the usual suspects on o-line with Trevor Olson, Jason Onyebuagu, Eddie Adamski and Joe Pawlak left to right. Panan Tense worked almost exclusively with the first team so it's hard to believe he won't be the starter at right tackle.
Landon Cox, Willie Clark and Marcus Lewis were the first team wideouts. Nathan Palmer was going full speed in pads with the second team, which was great to see. He looks like he'll be ready for Wisconsin.
DeMarcus Grady looks amazing running the ball, more explosive than most of the running backs. They have to work him into the offensive mix somehow. I saw a few plays where it looked like he would be a real asset. It seems like sophomore year is the time when athletic quarterbacks agree to play some receiver if at all so we'll see what transpires this year.
I can't tell what the deal is at tight end as they rotated four guys, Jason Schepler, Reed Cunningham, Bryan Beckner and Jack Marks. All did some nice things so it doesn't seem to be a problem.
Harnish looked pretty good. He clearly has the strongest arm of all the QBs. The three freshmen all look like they have some skills as I watched their throwing drills. AJ Hill throws a beautiful spiral as others have noted. Tommy Coughlin could be really good when he builds up his strength and no longer weighs like 140 pounds. He is currently the world's skinniest D1 quarterback.
They're still working out a ton of guys on kickoff returns. Tommy Davis looked among the better ones to my untrained eye.
Speaking of Davis, he played safety almost exclusively today. It looks like he and Garrett Barnas are battling it out to be paired on the second team with Mike Sobol.
The first team defense was Jake Coffman, Brian Lawson, DJ Pirkle and Brandon Bice on the line, Cory Hanson, Pat Schiller and Alex Kube at linebacker, and Kiaree Daniels, David Bryant, Tracy Wilson and Patrick George at DB, no surprises there. They mixed and matched a lot behind the first team. Chris Smith seemed to have a good practice.
Alan Baxter was with the #2's at left end. He looks like a stud and sure seems to weigh more than the listed 240 pounds. Ron Newcomb is working both inside and outside, good for him. The last guys I remember doing that with any regularity were Craig Rusch and Quince Holman and they worked out pretty well.
The defense will be real good. I laugh at the prognosticators who say we're "rebuilding" on defense.
Everyone looks huge up close and it's funny how short Nabal Jefferson looks next to the others. He looks good out there though, and sometimes those bowling ball types are really tough to handle. Who cares how tall he is as long as he's got game.
Dan Edem is still working with the linebackers.
David Bryant sure looks like a potential NFL player up close.
I'm pretty sure I saw John Hopkins working in pads, which is good to see. He has a lot of potential if he can get past his injuries.
I did not see any punting and kicking, other than a few kickoffs, while I was there.
It was great to be there as always and I can't wait for the season to start.