Another day of practice, some more injuries to worry about.
Got the chance to attend the second practice of the two-a-day Wednesday (morning was special teams again). Once again the defense continues to trump the offense and pretty handily. That's not surprising, but the offensive line continues to be a growing concern, and not necessarily just due to injuries. It seems to me that they are having a bit of trouble getting adjusted out there.
I have no doubt that they are working as hard as possible for Coach Himebauch, but with injuries piling up it's becoming a bit of a desperate time with the season opener just 17 days away.
Click through the jump for today's practice report
Yesterday I stated that OG Colin Summers seemed to be alright and didn't have a hand injury as rumors had it. Today though, he had it wrapped up and towards the end of practice he ran off the field in what looked to be pretty bad pain. I heard that he jammed the thumb on his left hand, which obviously makes it difficult to play offensive line.
JRoc also got a little banged up on a play I couldn't see in pass rush drills. He seemed to be favoring his left arm/shoulder and when he came back out of the training complex he had his pads off and left shoulder iced. Towards the end of practice he took the ice pack off and was working on his range of mobility in it. Seems like he just took a shot right to the shoulder and it hurt him a bit, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
As noted in an earlier on BSD today, Neil Basford tore his achilles tendon yesterday and will likely miss the rest of the season. This will push Spencer Bishop into the starting role, and will likely force either Zach Gordon or Anthony Rook to blow their redshirt this year as true freshmen. I think that Gordon has the best shot at backing Bishop up, but there is plenty of time to see.
The TE's and FB's have been consolidated into one group (H-Back), and Tommy Bohanon seems to be the #1 guy there. He has done a great job from what I've seen in blocking the seams on the line, as well as catch passes from the slot position. This will alleviate some of the pressure of having Basford out, but it will still hurt a bit because of the woes to the O-Line already.
Gabe Irby apparently injured his shoulder/elbow during practice yesterday and did not practice today with his left arm in a sling.
Bud Noel and Duran Lowe ran into each other late into practice, but both seemed to be ok. Bud got checked up on a little bit (left leg), but came back in and made a big play on Josh Wilhite in the team drills.
It also seems that Ramon Booi's collegiate career is over with his recurring injuries.
Now for the rest of practice (bullet point format)
- Coach Grobe had all eyes on the receivers for the first part of practice and was observing them pretty closely after calling them out yesterday in Dan Collins' article. Seemed like Coach Galloway put them through more catching drills today than they have been doing. Hands seem to be a problem for a few of them, but hopefully that will come around as they get up to full speed.
- Sherman Ragland III has tremendous speed and ability to change direction (cuts are just fun to watch), but needs to work on his hands. Seems like he lacks focus at certain times and tries to run before he has the ball. He made a couple of great catches towards the end of practice in the middle of the field so I know he is capable of doing well.
- Matt James had a pretty good overall practice. He is in a position battle with Terence Davis for the #1 spot on the outside (Camp has the flanker position locked down). If I had to guess right now I would say that James claims that #1 spot. Davis has had some dropped passes, and James seems to be the better blocker of the two right now. Since the coaching staff is really stressing WR blocking this year I think James has the advantage right now.
- The secondary and wideouts got really physical during the jamming drills for the cornerbacks and safeties. The aforementioned James thrived here in blocking the jammers and getting off. Allen Ramsey is a really physical corner who loves contact and often times goes a little longer than the offensive players would like.
- Bud Noel had an outstanding practice overall. He is just so good with his footwork and it puts him in the perfect position to make plays on his guy. He is an elite cover corner at the collegiate level and I think he is going to turn a lot of his NCAA-leading pass deflections last year into interceptions. His play-reading ability has improved as well and I don't think he is going to have that sophomore slump at all.
- Chibuikem Okoro played a bit of WR today and made a couple of good catches. We are down to 8 WR's practicing right now (Rucker, Jackson, James, Idzik, Williams, Howard IV, Davis, and Ragland), and Okoro gave them a good boost. I don't expect he will see much, if any, time at WR this season but it is good that he just wants to be on the field no matter where he is. Shows a lot about his character.
- The runningbacks all had some highlights that I saw. Deandre Martin has some speed for a powerback, while Orville Reynolds is just ungodly fast in open field. Josh Wilhite also showed to read the blocks pretty well and get downhill north to south instead of juking everywhere.
- As mentioned earlier, Tommy Bohanon had a pretty good practice and I hope we utilize him in a way that he can actually get some meaningful PT and help the team this year.
- The defensive line and linebacking corps have continued to impress and it is evident that our defense is going to be pretty solid this year. The Deacs are just so deep at linebacker, especially the inside position.