I just returned from the Open Spring practice, and thought I'd share some notes from the scrimmage portion, bright points and things to watch. Individual player notes are subject to memory, I didn't take notes during the actual practice. Anyone else that was in attendance, please add to my notes.
- Freshman Mike Thomas had perhaps the most impressive play of the day, nearly jumping over Christian Bryant to haul in a catch and stay inbounds. Bryant went down on the play holding his leg, but was able to get up and resume activities.
- Chris Fields was targeted over the middle and near the sideline a number of times, as well as Devin Smith and Corey Brown. The option reverse that was alluded to from Wednesday's practice was used for about a 20-25 yard gain, to either Smith or Brown, I can't remember and if someone else does, feel free to add.
- Overall, recievers showed good hands.
- Braxton Miller threw the ball well for the most part, but for one bad INT. Kenny Guiton showed proficiency in his reads and ability.
- Miller dropped a number of nice touches to recievers, including one for a touchdown early in the scrimmage to Devin Smith.
- Jordan Hall showed great quickness and ability to find holes. He was used in a number of options and counter-runs, and most went for reasonable gains against the first team.
- Carlos Hyde also took a number of pitches out of the option and showed great speed getting around the edge and through holes.
- Brionte Dunn took a few carries, and as I am told, had a long run.
OL vs. DL
- The Offensive line starters did well against the dominant DL, thought John Simon did disrupt a number of plays. For the most part, the big two on the Defensive Line (Hankins and Simon) were blocked well and did limited damage. However, when the second team OLs came in against the first team D, they were purely overpowered, which led to a number of blown up plays, sacks, and improvization by Kenny Guiton.
DBs and LBs
- The corners and safeties weren't great in coverage, but showed good recovery in a goal line stand in the first half of practice. Tyvis Powell looked comfortable in coverage, but many times the DBs were overmatched. This may have been because the above average play by the recieiving corps.
- Bradley Roby had an interception on a ball that really couldn't have been any easier for him to pick.
- The linebackers showed great quickness around the edge, recognizing and blowing up option reads on numerous occasions.
- Special Team coverage was worked on for a while, with drills meant to work on the coverage unit's reaction skills to various different return strategies, which was encouraging. The team has struggled in this area in the past few years.
Overall, the practice was encouraging, the players seemed motivated by the observers, and it was nice to get to see the offense run live as a primer for Saturday.