Today’s practice was the first in full pads as well as with referees and chains. This is going to be a pretty brief section since I am pretty new to this type of reporting!
- I couldn’t imagine typing this in the last two seasons I have written about this team—overall, in the 11-on-11 situations, the defense was able to hold its own against the offense by limiting big plays, swarming to the ball, and making the right run-fits.
- Brandon McIllwain had a bunch of throws he shouldn’t have made, including an endzone throw picked off by Malik Psalms that was forced into double/triple coverage.
- However, the practice did end on a crazy play where McIlwain was able to hit Patrick Laird for a TD whilst falling down after tripping.
- Overall, the QBs failed to impress. Each of them with their own specific weaknesses whether it is the lack of trust in his arm strength by Forrest, or McIlwain’s inaccuracy with throws.
- One of my favorite parts of the practice was when OL and DL were practicing run blocks with Coaches Azzinaro and Greatwood constantly coaching their players in between reps. It was great to see the players respond to their coaching.
- The defense has shown a lot of looks that indicate that the installation rate of the defensive playbook has been quite high. Players seem to be aware of their responsibilities at each level. I didn’t see missed assignments by the D.
Notes from interviews:
- Running behind the current iteration of the ol-ine is refreshing. The o-line sticks together and play as one wall. The new guys bring a lot of energy to the run team.
- Running in this offense forces him to be a little more patient and let the game come to him. Being in the room with Coach Baldwin has been helpful in improving his vision.
Coach Gerald Alexander:
- He focuses on taking tools he has gathered from Boise State, the NFL, and as a GA/coach and gives the DBs the skills he didn’t have in college.
- The game evolved into a long cover corners. Especially with safeties where the traditional box safety has been phased out due the game being more pass-focused.