Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Practice 10 in the books.

Tuesday practice is over. Lets get right to it.
  • On Saturday, Randy Edsall hinted changes in the depth chart were possible. Today, Isiah Moore took Marcus Easley's spot as starting wide receiver. Jimmy Bennett and Mike Ryan were elevated to the first team, sort of. Both rotated with Dan Ryan and Mike Hicks at the tackle spots. Edsall said it was a way to see that the two younger players could do against the first team, and could prelude a permanent change.

  • Bennett is excited about the chance, but admitted he wasn't very good today. "Crappy" was the term he used to describe his performance. There's no question he needs to get physically stronger, as Bennett said and Edsall echoed, but he's athletic and strong enough for now. Bennett's squat is up to 455 from 360 when he first arrived.

  • As Randy Edsall spoke of Isiah Moore's work ethic after practice had cleared out, Moore was off in a corner -- helmet on and in full pads -- catching tennis balls out of a machine. He wasn't the only player who stayed for extra work. Zach Frazer and Gary Bardzak remained to work on snaps. But Moore was the last to leave the practice field.

  • Moore has a quiet confidence. He knows he still has a lot of areas to improve, but also knows he's been elevated for a reason. "Last year watching from the sidelines, I could see the receivers playing inconsistently," Moore said. "I thought that I could be that guy; that I can catch the ball; that I can make plays after the catch and score touchdowns." He's also wary of the importance of spring ball to make an impression, as the freshmen recruits like Dwayne Difton arrive in August. "We've got some 4-star guys coming in, and this is my chance to get into the rotation," Moore said. "This is my chance to show I can make plays."

  • Anthony Sherman remained out with a tight hamstring that isn't serious. Yianni the Greek is improving, but unlikely to be ready to practice before spring is out. K.C. Chambers likely won't be allowed to do contact drills with his fractured wrist in a cast. Jerome Junior turned an ankle after a big hit levied against tight end Ryan Griffin, and hobbled off for treatment. It didn't appear serious.

  • Edsall said Trevardo Williams and Jesse Joseph, the other two true freshmen in spring camp, are pushing for a chance to play this fall. Edsall has been thrilled with Joseph. He said Chambers will likely red shirt the season.

  • Edsall on today's practice, which included mostly drills, "The offense was better today. The kids are picking up the offense, and that's what I'm looking for. They're handling what we;ve put in on offense pretty good, and I'm happy with where we are after 10 days." The defense has looked outstanding.

  • Lindsey Witten looks like a different person from the wiry freshman thrown into the lineup in 2006. He's a thick 248 pounds, and plans to get up to 255 by the fall. That would be a full 50 pounds gained from the 205 he played at as a freshman. "I expect him to be an every down player," Edsall said.

  • Some highlights from drills included a looooong catch and run by Alex Molina. Also, Meme Wylie has been rolling off big plays this spring. On Saturday, Edsall downplayed it by saying they've come against the second-team defense. Today, Wylie took off for another 75-yard score against the 1s. Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon are going to get the bulk of the work, but Wylie will have a role in the offense. A couple of big licks made by the safeties, including the shot on Griffin that Junior was hurt on.

  • Watching Desi Cullen and Dave Teggart try to take snaps in an offensive line drill was a treat. Standing a few feet away on the sideline, I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing too hard. It's not easy to handle those snaps, as the two kickers showed. It took about seven tries apiece before one wasn't fumbled. At one point, Cullen lined up over center and put his whole head under Moe Petrus' ass to get a better look at the football. (This isn't a family blog, is it? Can I say ass? Guess we'll find out.) It looked like he was crouched over searching for a contact lens. "You don't have to look under there like that, Desi," Edsall said, somehow managing to keep a straight face.
Down in my familiar post-practice position in the bowels of Gampel. Inside, they're setting up for a mass showing of the NCAA women's basketball final. I don't envision a rowdy crowd showing up. But what do I know?


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