As always, this is just what I saw.
[Obligatory reminder that I am not an expert.]
[Still working on that photo thing. If you're at practice and are snapping photos/would like to see your work up here, tweet me!]
[Yes, expect a disclaimer like this on top of all of these reports.]
Looks like the Klindergoff Saga is going to continue for at least another day. Redshirt freshman Zach Kline ended up atop the rankings for Tuesday, and Jared Goff brought up the rear. Yeah. So that happened. I can hardly believe it myself – but every time it looks like someone’s ahead, there seems to be a different player taking charge the very next day.
Today’s passing seemed to be a little more vertical in focus, which played right into Kline’s strengths – freed up and ready to attack downfield, the redshirt freshman was able to complete a good number of 20+ yard passes, hooking up with Bryce Treggs several times during drills. Kline's ability to hit those 20-25 yard seam routes [and further] is much further along than either of the other candidates. Leading off most of the periods today, he also looked pretty n command, and not at all like the hesitant, jittery mess we saw Monday. More encouraging is the fact that he was on point with the short game - something he will need to do consistently if he is to win the job.
He was not perfect - on 7-on-7s, there was at least one play in which he threw into an oncoming safety, and flat out didn't see a wide open Darius Powe on another - but on Tuesday, Kline was much improved.
Goff, on the other hand, didn't look as sharp, for whatever reason. There were a good number of overthrown passes from the true freshman, some behind, some overhead, and some near picks. The fade routes that he threw with authority yesterday sailed off-target today.
Austin Hinder continued his steady play, and had a highlight moment when he found Kenny Lawler for a 45 yard touchdown in 7-on-7s [sign of S&C paying off?]. More than the other two QBs, I get the sense that Hinder knows when to quit on the play - and by this, I mean that I think he knows when to check down and take a few yards, rather than a loss. That happens pretty consistently, and he's been passing a lot out of roll-out motions, as well. Just something to keep an eye on.
Nothing major to report, as far as I remember. First team offense seems pretty set, skills wise, with Espitia, Bouza, Harper, Treggs.
Team experimented with a couple of different Bone/Grizzly [yes, I'm still trying to make it happen] looks, including one in which Khalfani Muhammad and Darren Ervin were the upbacks, and Bigelow was in the backfield.
Marcus Manley saw some snaps up at 2nd team defensive tackle, and Khalfani Muhammad did work with the 1s early in practice. I believe I also saw Ray Hudson and Jack Austin take a few reps with the 3s, but I wouldn't read too much into that yet.
A mostly complete list of who's lining up at which wide receiver slots. Took this down from a routes on air drill. Do not take this to be a strict "depth chart" yet. I didn't get to record everyone in order.:
- Left outside (X): Bryce Treggs. Maurice Harris, Drake Whitehurst, Jack Austin.
- Left inside (H): Maximo Espitia, Joel Willis, Darius Powe, Jacob Wark, Kyle Boehm, Bryce McGovern
- Right inside (Y): Jackson Bouza, Stephen Anderson, Richard Rodgers, Ray Hudson, Spencer Hagan
- Right outside (Z): Chris Harper, Kenny Lawler, James Grissom, Caleb Coleman, Trevor Davis. These are in order. Pretty sure. Decently sure.
Other Notes and Observations:
- We need a fifth defensive back, badly. Andy Buh seems like he's favoring Stefan McClure in the slot, but even so, that would leave one unmanned cornerback position on the outside. Through the first two days of practice - and remembering that it has been just two days - I'm not convinced that Isaac Lapite or Cedric Dozier will be that player. I don't think it's going to be Darius Allensworth, either - at least, not based on the way Tuesday went. Allensworth seems to be having trouble with his knee still, and it looked to me like he was holding a lot of jersey just to keep pace with the receivers.
- I haven't gotten to see a lot of Trey Cheek yet, but Cam Walker had his moments, and broke up at least one nice pass that I can remember on Tuesday. Those two - along with the other freshmen - will get closer looks in the days to come. [I can only pay attention to so many things at once!]
- Daniel Lasco has been taking a pretty large number of the carries, and he’s making quite a lot out of the opportunity. I think what's impressed me so far the most about Lasco is his ability to run with the football. Okay, so I know he can run with the football, but he's been really, really good out of the backfield, and he's faster than I thought he was. At least twice on Tuesday, he turned a flair/swing pass into a larger gain than it should've gone for, simply by skittering around the edges of the field. It will be interesting to see how much of this lasts when we get pads on on Saturday, but for now, Lasco's displayed really great hands in the backfield, and an ability to maneuver after the catch. He's got fantastic burst, too. Saw him hit the line on one run, and then he was already 8 yards down the field half a second after that.
- Jonah Hodges had the first really long touchdown run of practice, but judging by how wide open the middle of the field was, I think someone was out of position.
- Bigelow, by comparison, doesn't look quite "back" yet, for me. There were four open practices last year, and I can tell you exactly the moment I knew Bigelow was going to be a contributor: he took a pitch/sweep left, saw a small hole, and blitzed down the field, 50+ yards, untouched. No one even got close to him on that play, even though people were in the right vicinity. No one had a shot. It was like...the predecessor for his Ohio State runs. So far, he's lacked a moment like that one, and part of it, I know, is because his reps are being limited. Could just be rust, too.
- Bigelow was also only the third player on the field today. First yesterday, beat today by Joey Mahalic and Jake Geringer.
- I think we're likely to see a lot of Lucas Gingold, in some fashion or another. He spends a lot of time practicing blocking and punching with one of the team equipment[?] people, and lacks a formal position group - perhaps because there is no one like him on the roster. Today, the big man caught a pass and got to rumble down field for 20, so that was cool.
- For whatever reason, Alex Logan has not practiced yet, and Jason Gibson, who moved to safety recently, has run with the 2s. Today, he almost picked off a pass, and was in good position to crack at several others. Things remain a work in progress with him - thought he looked a bit stiff in coverage drills Monday - but that encouraging to see. That being said, Kline also threw a touchdown pass over him.
- Kam Jackson took some kickoffs. Joining him were: Bryce Treggs, Darren Ervin, Joel Willis, Khalfani Muhammad, and Brendan Bigelow.
- Tagaloa was back at practice, but then rolled an ankle when tangled up with Dan Camporeale. He could be back tomorrow.
- Hawaii transfer Trevor Davis tallied up a couple nice catches today, including some of the leaping variety.
- Judging from Sonny's comments post-practice, we should expect to see a healthy dose of Austin Hinder tomorrow.
If there's anything you want to see changed about these recaps, or any player/thing/storyline that you would like me to keep an eye out for specifically, please let me know in the comments, or tweet me. There isn't always a lot going on to me, but that's cause I'm there all the time. If you let me know what you want to see, then I might be able to help a bit more with my observations.