Monday, August 09, 2010

It's football season...practice one in review

First day of practice is in the books. Temps still in the 90s at 4:10 p.m. when things got underway. A long, sticky two hours. Here's the rundown (typed in between my guzzling a bottle of Dasani water).
  • Edsall anointed himself as safeties coach, and will work exclusively with those players this season. Darrell Perkins still holds the title of defensive backs coach, but he will concentrate on the cornerbacks. "It's no reflection on Darrell," Edsall said. "I feel I can help those guys. It's too much for one guy with all the youth and inexperience we have back there. You do these kinds of things when you're the CEO, the head coach. You're trying to be the best you can be and doing what's best for your organization. It's too much for one guy to handle."

  • The safeties understand why Edsall wants to work with the personally, Jerome Junior said. "He doesn't' want what happened last year to happen this year," Junior said. "I don't blame him. We came up short a lot, and a lot of the blame was because of me and a couple of other guys in the secondary. We don't want that to happen again, we don't want to be the weakness of the team. He always says you're only as strong as your weakest player, so you're trying to get everybody to work as one."

  • Edsall admits he needs to work on his throwing ability. A lot of wounded ducks out there in those drills with the secondary. "It's been a while," Edsall said. "The first one I threw, they were laughing. Dwayne Gratz said 'man, you threw it end over end."

  • Leon Kinnard lined up at wide receiver for the entire practice, and didn't work at all with the quarterbacks. He's still a quarterback, according to Edsall and Kinnard. But it seemed like the coaches are kicking around some ideas. "We have a lot of new guys that came in this summer, and they moved me out to get them some reps," Kinnard said. "I'm still a quarterback, and just out here having fun." Of course, Kinnard is a still new guy himself, having only one spring practice under his belt. Frazer, Endres, Box, McEntee, McCummings and walk-on Blaise Driscoll out of Avon Old Farms all partook in the QB drills. Kinnard makes seven, and that's a lot of quarterbacks to carry. Kinnard said he didn't find out he was working at a different position today until this morning, when an assistant told him his play book was in the receivers' room. Kinnard said he's had no discussion with Edsall about a switch, and he doesn't anticipate anything changing, so it's certainly possible it was just for today.

  • D.J. Shoemate will be an outstanding fit here, both as a player and a person. And yes, I can tell after one practice. He's shifty and strong, with the ability to carry tacklers. He's also humble and down-to-earth. Will likely be a go-to guy in the interview room win or lose.

  • Geremy Davis, Alex Polito, Jory Johnson and Angelo Pruitt were among the injured players working on the sidelines during practice.

  • Greg Lloyd will indeed redshirt, a decision Edsall made this week after speaking with him. "Greg thought he was a certain percentage (health wise)," Edsall said. "I won't say what it was, but I don't think he felt confident yet. And you don't take someone not feeling confident and put him out there. The best thing is to redshirt him."

  • Not a lot to see on the first day of drills, but John Delahunt made a pretty one-handed grab in traffic and Tebucky Jones made an athletic leaping catch in the back of the end zone. Saw Dwayne Difton make a sliding touchdown catch, and freshman Lyle McCombs showed speed and elusiveness.

  • On defense, Edsall said he was impressed by freshman Byron Jones ("he plays pretty fast for a freshman") and Mike Lang, who also plays fast. He said Jerome Junior is much more comfortable out there than he was a year ago.

  • D.J. Shoemate said he spoke with new USC coach Lane Kiffin often in the weeks before he decided to transfer. Shoemate knows Kiffin well because Kiffin was the USC coach who recruited him (Shoemate committed to the Trojans at age 15, by the way). "He said they weren't going to use the fullback in the same way," Shoemate said. "I didn't play a lot in spring practice because of some hamstring issues, but I saw the depth chart and could see the writing on the wall. I wasn't going to get the ball anywhere near as much as I would have wanted to." Shoemate, a lifelong Southern California resident, has yet to see New York City or Boston. His only experience on the East Coast is in North Carolina, where his mother is from. He was a little taken aback at the cow pastures across from campus, but ultimately, he said, "it's about football."

That's it for now. My thumb is throbbing from an afternoon spent assembling a 15-foot trampoline in my back yard. It's now swollen to the size of a golf ball. However, I did finish after several hours in the sweltering sun, and was astonished to see a gathering of about 10 neighborhood kids lurking as I hooked the final spring. I'd never seen any of them in seven years living there. Where were they when I was breaking my back shoveling snow? ANYWAY, I fully expect to return home to a sea of wounded, crying children lying in my backyard, all suffering from various trampoline-related trauma. Kind of like the image below.


Anonymous Sean O said...


August 10, 2010 11:41 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...


August 10, 2010 12:51 PM 

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