13.Aug.2015 Thursday Practice Report
This was public on rivals, so I assume it’s fair game that someone captured it then.
The freshman connection
Quarterback Seth Collins and wide receiver Paul Lucas put on quite a show during practice with several big plays in the first day in pads.
The first came game during 7-on-7 when Collins hit Lucas on a quick slant and then took it the distance. The safeties came on a blitz leaving one-on-one coverage on the outside, which Lucas took advantage of.
Later during live team drills on a very similar play, Lucas caught a pass from Collins over the middle then broke a tackle, then made several defenders miss in the open field and then raced down the sideline before being caught at about the five yard line.
That play sent the team into a small brawl at the goal line were several players (including Collins) had to be taken out of the drill for a couple of plays.
Running backs get their chance
With Storm Barr-Woods and Chris Brown not participating in practice on Thursday this gave opportunities for Damien Haskins, Ryan Nall and Jaylynn Bailey to get a heavy dose of reps.
For most of the team session, Nall struggled to find running lanes, which resulted in minimal yardage. On one of the final plays of the practice however, Nall broke through with a 15-yard touchdown through the middle of the defense. What was impressive with Nall that it usually took multiple defenses to take him down, even if was close to the line of scrimmage.
Both Haskins and Bailey had good days running the ball with the extra reps they were getting. Bailey showed that he was a capable pass catcher by catching a wheel route down the sideline for a big gain, while Haskins demonstrated his unique blend of speed and strength bouncing off tackles for a several good gains.
First day in pads brought some big hits.
The team had been itching to get into full pads and two plays in particular really stood out when the team when live.
The first big hit I saw came from corner Kendall Hill on Lucas. Lucas ran a bubble screen from the slot and as soon as he touched the ball, was met by Hill who was unblocked and welcomed Lucas to college football. Think Sheldon Brown’s hit on Reggie Bush in the 2006 NFC playoffs. After that play the energy level spiked drastically.
Shortly after that when the offense was facing a fourth-and-short situation, Marcus McMaryion handed the ball off to Bailey, as soon as he took a step, he was met by blitzing Cyril Noland-Lewis who came in like a missile and was untouched by anyone on the offense to make the play in the backfield and force the turnover.
The quarterbacks rotated more than in previous practices, all three freshmen worked with the first unit during team and 7-on-7 drills. Collins had his best day throwing the ball by my opinion. All the quarterbacks made nice plays through the air.
Coaches are using a quick whistle whenever Collins decides to take off and run, once he crosses the line of scrimmage the coaches blow the play dead.
Dwayne Williams, Jordan Villiman, Storm Barr-Woods did not practice today. Malik Gilmore was back in full pads after sitting out a couple of practices.
The offense put the ball on the ground a couple times, whether it was a botched snap, a sloppy handoff or the defense stripping the ball the offense at times did not protect the ball.
McMaryion took the first snaps when the team when live. The starting defense during the session was Kyle Peko at the nose tackle, Lavonte Barnett and Titus Failauga and the defensive end spots; Jaswha James, Bright Ogwoegbu and Caleb Saulo as the linebackers. With defensive backs, Larry Scott, Treston Decoud, Devin Chappell, Noland-Lewis and Justin Strong to round out the defense.
When players were still talking after a whistle, there was no “Jiminy Christmas” being yelled at the players, instead a more vulgar phrase that I’ll let you use your imagination on.
TE Caleb Smith was wearing a different (ineligible) number at practice the past two days. Although he is wearing No. 57, he is still lining up and playing tight end. No switch to the offense or defensive line.