Hey, thanks, Uncle Ted!
Before receiving this award, I'd like to thank the readers, who are most of why I strive to be thorough, and of course, Twist and Avi, who I may not always get along perfectly with, but am always grateful to and appreciative of. Without them, I wouldn't have a spot writing about any of this, really.
Now, I admit it's weird to drop 1500+ words -- this column is yet another, by the way; SURPRISE! -- on most practices, but I like how/what I do, and just as importantly, you guys seem fairly happy about the quality of things to date, so I'll be working to keep it that way. I always do.
Let's go get into it.
- It wasn't anything he did today specifically, but after Bryce Treggs and Trevor Davis -- arrange them in whatever order you like; they were both excellent again on Wednesday, thanks for asking -- Maurice Harris could arguably be the third best wideout at this year's camp so far, so I wanted to give him some shine in this space. Lawler, the other candidate for the third spot, is spectacular when it comes to hauling in difficult passes, making it hard not to knock him for failing to make easier, routine catches, which happens more often than anyone wants to admit. Harris, by comparison, has been nothing but steady and living up to his billing as most surehanded receiver in the Allen clan.
- This one comes from Eugene, who was manning @GoldenBlogs today. Stefan's two PDs came on rips after the catch -- including one by Bryce Treggs.
- Nowhere else to put this, but Goff's deep overthrow of an open Chris Harper in WR/DB 1-on-1s might have been his first error on one of those types of passes all camp. Harper has been largely, almost suspiciously uninvolved, although he turned a short pass from Goff into a 35-yard+ catch and run toward the end of the day.
- Biggest highlight probably belonged to Jeffrey Coprich, who ran against the 2nd team defense and broke a carry for about 40 yards -- the longest one of camp. [We haven't had much live running, though. Check back this weekend.]
- Daniel Lasco (2 yard touchdown run), DeZhon Grace (pass from Rubenzer), and Tre Watson (2 yard touchdown run) all scored during the final 11-on-11 period. They spent some time pushing tempo here too, which was the first time all camp.
.@StefanMcClure21 day 3 >>> day 1&2. looks more confident in coverage today, and def more physical. counted at least 2 PBUs in 7v7s today.— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) August 7, 2014
General defensive observations
When they move to pads, this section will be a bit more substantive.
- Was asked to spot Trey Cheek a few times, who is part of the second team cornerback rotation thus far. Twice specifically, he had tight enough coverage to force Goff to throw elsewhere, and he recorded one PD in the end zone. Also gave up a handful of catches too. Solid, not spectacular. None of the DBs have been, really. All -- Cam Walker, Cedric Dozier, everyone -- have their ups and downs, but it's almost assured they won't be as bad as last season's crew, which was just as much a confluence of everything going wrong as much as any of their own issues.
- Walker had a couple of deflections himself today too, and I do agree with Coach Dykes' assessment that he's the most consistent of all the guys. They don't look like lockdown world-beaters, but they are battling out there, and they're doing it against a very talented set of receivers.
- 1st team defense stopped 1st team offense 3 straight times during third down drill. So that's nice to see.
- I peeked over at the DL/OL stuff and the very first thing I saw on one of these peeks was the sight of Long Beach City College's David Davis reverse pancaking a lineman off the snap. That's a helluva sentence.
- Really wish James Looney was going to be available. Some surprising burst off the ball that overwhelmed the guards in the 1-on-1 reps I saw, although he worked against Kam Bennett.
- Arthur Wainwright is running with some twos units, and took individual coaching today on his footwork specifically. Coach Dykes really liked what he saw from Wainwright Wednesday, according to his comments, and though I wish I could give more specifics, I actually didn't get to see him too much myself. Rather be up front about that.
- Neither Hardy Nickerson nor Darius White participated in contact. Both did limited drill work. Jalil, who was held out of today's practice, drew praise in Coach Kaufman's comments below. Interestingly, the implication of these comments seems to be that they too, don't know what they'll be getting out of the junior defensive tackle, with his knees and all. They do, however, seem to like whatever they can see from him so far.
There was no other way to organize my thoughts regarding the freshman back, so he gets his own highlight. A couple of plays, and a small anecdote.
- There was a drill today during the pre-practice period where all of the running backs were placed standing still right in front of Coach Ingram and an assistant, both of whom were holding blocking pads. The goal? Explode past both blockers from a dead stop. Now, if I gave you one guess as to which guy looked most violent and successful doing this, who would you have guessed? Yep. V-I-C E-N-W-E-R-E. Never even seemed bothered by the obstacles in front of him, almost phasing through them entirely. I think he might already be the strongest runner on the roster, including Lasco. [Lasco, if you're wondering, was fine. It's just that Enwere seemed to have even less trouble than him.]
- Other observation on the above drill: they only repped it a few times, but Khalfani Muhammad did fine for being a smaller back. Surprising power in such a small frame.
- With the pads finally on -- well, somewhat, anyway -- Enwere also ran the exact same way during team periods. Here, I have two more highlights among what was a very productive set of carries. One, Enwere met fellow freshman Hamilton A'noai in a head on collision, then dragged him on his way to about seven yards. When's the last time we had a guy do that? Two, he caught a little drag route from Goff and rumbled through the open field for about 22 yards, all the way down to the three, where he was "tagged" down by one of the safeties. Um, yeah. I'm pretty sure he would have scored there, y'all.
- First team defense that closed practice: Todd Barr (weak side), Trevor Kelly, Tony Mekari, Brennan Scarlett (strong side), Devante Downs (MIKE), Michael Barton, Jalen Jefferson, Michael Lowe, Darius Allensworth, Cameron Walker, Stefan McClure. Cedric Dozier also saw time on this unit. They haven't gotten anything from any of the other RDEs, so why not go with some more size, at least? Barr's first appearance with this unit resulted in him nearly swatting a pass out of the air from Goff, although it ended up being the aforementioned Chris Harper highlight instead. Still gotta like that he got his hands up.
- Second team defense that closed practice: Kyle Kragen, Harrison Wilfley, David Davis, Sione Sina (strong side), Unc Davison, Edward Tandy (MIKE), Hamilton A'noai, Caleb Coleman, AJ Greathouse, David Garner, Griffin Piatt. Several other names rotated in with this group, including Trey Cheek. The above 11 names were simply the first look, with Coleman spending some time in the slot, too. Not 100% sure on A'noai, but have listed anyway for the sake of completeness.
- Why no Broussard? Don't know. Maybe just taking it easy with him.
- Second team OL has seen some movement, with the move of J.D. Hinnant from center to right guard. It would be safe to assume that his snap -- or more accurately, his struggles to -- played a role in the switch, which makes the line: Brian Farley, Vinnie Johnson, walk-on freshman Addison Ooms, J.D. Hinnant, and Matt Cochran. For those who are unfamiliar, Ooms blocked for Chase Forrest at Mater Dei, too.
- If my eyes are not deceiving me, I believe that Donovan Frazer took Ooms' spot at center on third team.
- Guys on punt team today: Joel Willis, Trevor Davis, and my notes say Kenny Lawler, but that last one might be wrong. Davis also caught one punt with his hands behind his back. Don't ask me how he did it -- my body can't possibly fathom that type of coordination.
- Playlist was decidedly unhype, and very 70s/80s influenced. Sad face.
- No sledgehammers, rope work, tires, or sleds so far. Thankfully, guys are mostly still pretty healthy.
- Kevin Parker, who some of you guys lovingly refer to as Rope Coach, was sporting a Marshawn Lynch t-shirt, which draws a thumbs up from this blogger. No appearance by Beast Mode, though.
- The sight of Tony Franklin running routes -- he was demonstrating for I think it was either Patrick Laird or John Porchivina how he wants linebackers attacked coming out of the backfield -- is equal parts hilarious and endearing. I love Coach Franklin.
- Cool thing that I just noticed: during certain periods of practice, the offense's field is sectioned off using pink cones, which I assume are used to mark exactly how/where routes are supposed to be run to. I'll try to snap a photo tomorrow.
- Didn't track the entire field goal period, but we can confirm the following: Langford good from 32, 42; Anderson good from 42. There was I think, one or two misses that we didn't get, and according to BearlyLegal, Langford from 42 was one.