Saturday, April 04, 2009

Pre-Final Four reading: Saturday scrimmage notes

Early scrimmage at the Shenkman Center, perfect to get work done early and home in time for the Final Four. Some observations:

Changes coming on the depth chart. Randy Edsall, looking almost exclusively at individuals during the spring scrimmages, said some should be in place by Tuesday.

Nothing's set in stone, but he raved about the play of wide receiver Isiah Moore (who had a great scrimmage) and Jesse Joseph. "Jesse is one guy who's really elevating himself," Edsall said. "We've seen it consistently all spring." Moore is the best bets to move up to starter. Isiah was outstanding Saturday. Joseph, a true freshman who enrolled in January, is everywhere. Expect to see him with the second team.

There could be doings on the offensive line, too. Jimmy Bennett may overtake Dan Ryan at left tackle this week. Mike Ryan and Gary Bardzak are also pushing the veterans. "The first-team defensive line dominated the first-team offensive line, and the second-team offensive line dominated the second-team defensive line," Edsall said. The offensive line knew it underperformed Saturday, too. "At least they're being honest with themselves. They better understand last year is over and it's a new year. The expectations for some guys who are fifth-year seniors like Mike Hicks and Dan Ryan, and Moe Petrus whose been around a year, and Zach Hurd, they should be playing better than what they are. I don't know who they think they are or what they think this is all about. They want to keep going that way Kuraczea and Bennett and some other guys might step in front of them. if they want to send me a message, they're sending it to the wrong person because the message I send back to them will be a lot stronger."

  • Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon split carries with the first team, but the more impressive backs today were Meme Wylie and Robbie Frey. Wylie reminds me of Dave Meggett (dated reference, but that's who comes to mind). He's thick, shifty and quick, and seems ready to make a contribution this season. He scored three touchdowns in the scrimmage, including a 75-yard catch and run on a swing pass. There was a couple of blocks to help free room, but most was Wylie. Edsall said not to read too much into it because the runs today were done with the second team.

  • Kashif Moore had an up-and-down day. He made a few plays, but had some drops, too. Nice day catching the ball for Gerrard Sheppard, and Isiah Moore too. Isiah had a 90-yard touchdown reception from Zach Frazer, making a nice mid-air adjustment to make the grab, then racing to the house. He's ready to make the leap. The dropped balls don't bother Edsall at this point. He'll just go with the guys who are catching the ball. "At times as a coach, you're going to get on them about that. But the players have to understand they're making their own bed in practices and these scrimmages. We're evaluating each one of them, and we'll make changes necessary."

  • Defensive tackles Kendall Reyes and Twyon Martin got rave reviews from Edsall for their performances this spring.

  • The offense stepped up a bit to Edsall's mid-practice challenge. After a brutal beginning, Edsall shouted for someone on offense to make a play. It got a little better afterward. Cody Endres underthrew Isiah Moore, allowing Blidi Wreh-Wilson to step in and knock the pass away. "He's got him beat! Make the throw!" Edsall told him. Shortly after, Endres aired one out to Kashif Moore. Kashif couldn't make the catch, but it wasn't because of the throw.

  • Anthony Sherman didn't play, still bothered by a tight hamstring. Kijuan Dabney played with the 2's. Desi Cullen kicked all the field goals.

  • Marcus Campbell flashed his speed off the line of scrimmage and put good pressure on the quarterback. Tight end Ryan Griffin caught a big completion from Frazer.

  • Moe Petrus had his problems today, and Edsall let him know. "You look like a freshman today!" Edsall said. "All-American, my butt! Stop reading your press clippings." Well, Petrus is still a freshman, but you get the point. I'm sure Moe did as well.


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