I got a chance to make it out to the 2nd practice at the Doc Martin Practice Facility last night, and it was quite pleasant weather for a summer practice. There had been some cloud cover, and obviously since it is at night,. the Deacs avoided the heat of the day.
The team practiced in just helmets, but I believe tonight they are going into shells for the first time. I will also head out there tonight with WakeJake and BJohnston to check out the team and get some other eyes out there. Stay tuned into our Twitter accounts for live updates at practice (and mine to check in on live updates from last night).
Click through for a brief run through of practice and some of my (less than good) observations.
- We were on the wall, so the O-line was right in front of us, and the receivers were a bit to our left. This gave us a good chance to watch Coach Lobotzke and his teaching techniques with the line (and boy are they HUGE).
- Coach Lobo spent a good amount of time talking to the younger players and really stressed the techniques by going step by step in the blocking scheme. The older guys were also very vocal, and were doing more teaching to the younger guys than being taught by Coach.
- Since we were also right beside the WR's we got a look at them up-close too. The first thing I noticed was Sherman Ragland and how quickly he got off the line, it was impressive to watch.
- Michael Campanaro switched to #3 from #28 and it really fits his body a little better haha.
- Coach Galloway was running the WR's, and he requires maximum effort on every single drill. He gave out push-up penalties for doing a drill wrong, and I think nearly everybody did a set of (I believe 7) before the positional drills were over.
- We worked a good bit on pushing away the jam/press, and Coach Galloway also stressed the technique heavily there. If it was done incorrectly he called the player back to do it again, and then they got the push-up penalty.
- We have a lot of WR's that are going to be able to contribute this year (Rucker, Dembry, Camp, Givens, Jackson, Terry, James). A few of them have some very good size too. Great mix of speed and size.
- It seemed to me like the QB's were a little rusty. They started off well when they were just throwing to their receivers on comeback routes and corner routes, but once the offense went up against the defense, it was pretty obvious to me that the defense had the upper-hand.
- Ted Stachitas was very accurate and had a fair amount of zip on the ball throughout the entire practice. Price looked pretty solid too, but had a stretch in the middle where accuracy was a problem. I was excited to get a look at Kevin Sousa for the first time. He actually has pretty good zip on the ball, and not bad footwork, but his release just looks a little awkward. He did throw a couple of bombs though that were right on the dot.
- The line and the QBs worked strictly out the shotgun from what I saw. Most of the snaps were also rollouts, and the line worked on those movements as well. Since Tanner is left-handed, the line has to work on shifting to their left more than usual.
- On the defensive side of the ball the corners had some nice plays I thought. Bud Noel and Kenny Okoro stuck out to me the most. Noel is deemed "small" by most pundits, but he makes up for it with excellent coverage. Okoro had a couple of really nice deflections too.
- I will take a better look at the linebackers and the defensive line tonight. They were on the other side and I didn't get a really good look at them.
- I didn't notice it at first because he was on the other side of the field, but Alex Kinal had some absolute BOMBS. He was easily kicking it the width of the practice field (which I believe to be regulation), which comes out to 53 1/2 yards. Now kicking in practice and kicking in a game with pads on are two completely different things, but holy hell was he getting hang time on them too.
- Didn't see a lot of Jimmy Newman because I couldn't see over the rest of the players, but I know he spent a lot of time talking to Kinal. Didn't see a lot of his kicks though.
Below are some quotes from Wilber to Dan Collins and JournalNow.com about the switch to the 3-4:
"I was kind of upset, because I was comfortable with the other 4-3 defense," Wilber said. "I was a defensive end, and now all of a sudden I'm a stand-up outside linebacker, and I really didn't know how to play that.
Wilber has since changed his tune after getting used to the 3-4:
"It's very exciting," Wilber said of his new position. "I get to use my feet more. I get to use my speed. I get to mess around with some of the wide receivers. I get to hit them and knock them off their routes.
"I love rushing the passer. Coach, he's put in a lot of plays for the outside linebacker to rush the passer. I've got to work a lot on my coverage skills. I'm trying to have (junior cornerback) Kenny Okoro help me with that.