Saturday, April 02, 2011

Practice report: Two weeks to the spring game

Some notes and quotes from today's practice.

  • The team spent most of the day scrimmaging, and were able to work in just about every situation and phase, and it was a chance for the coaches to let the players work some things out on their own. "There's no lifeguard on duty today," Paul Pasqualoni told his players before practice.

  • The quarterbacks remained in even rotation, even through the scrimmage. Lots of ball security issues, be in with snaps of at the end of runs. Scott McCummings in particular seemed to have the most trouble today. He also had a pass deflected that went for a pick-6 for about 60 yards. The interception was by Alex Kantor, who isn't even listed on the numerical roster. He wears No. 38, and for a split second I thought Dave Teggart was playing in the secondary.

  • Adam Masters was dressed and participated in the scrimmage.

  • Sio Moore went from the "new" guy in the linebacker rotation to established veteran in the span of, what, two months? He's taken on a visible leadership role, and was very vocal on the sidelines while the backups were on the field. He's serving as a mentor for the younger backers now, and was on Mike Osiecki a bit during the scrimmage. "He knows his place," said Osiecki, who is sporting a Mohawk. "If I have any questions, I go to him."

  • Moore and Osiecki both went on and on about how much they love the new coaches, in this case defensive coordinator Don Brown, and the new defense. "When we go, we go," Moore said. "It's like what coach Brown says, solve your problems with aggression and get to the quarterback. With this defense, we're coming and we're coming from everywhere. It's a little different from last year as far as pressure goes. This is more of an in-your-face defense. It's definitely high energy and fun to play, especially when you've got big people up front like that behemoth monster (points at Kendall Reyes) and Shamar, and Jesse, and Twyon. They just eat up blockers and it's like candy out there for the linebackers."

  • Pasqualoni did have to pull Moore aside and reign him in a bit after he got a couple of licks on quarterback Michael Nebrich on consecutive plays. The first was a late shove just after Nebrich unloaded the ball, which drew a brief lecture from the referee. The next play, Moore blitzed and hit Nebrich hard. That's when Pasqualoni stepped in. "When you're practicing against each other, there's the notion of taking care of each other," Pasqualoni said. "If somebody's got a clean shot at somebody...we don't have to be killing our own guys. You can go in and hit them, just don't drive them into the ground."

  • Lots of players putting in extra work post-practice. Special teams coach Clayton White worked with D.J. Shoemate and Sio Moore on long snaps, which was likely for fun. But Tebucky Jones spent time catching tennis balls out of the machine, and then ran routes with McCummings. Gus Cruz was also doing extra drills.

  • Several recruits on hand, including Casey Cochrane and his father, Jack as well as a few guys from St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey. Pasqualoni was late speaking to the media because there were so many high school players and coaches to talk with.

  • Pasqualoni ended his post-practice speech to players by reminding them not to "get crazy" after tonight's Final Four game. "We don't do that. WE don't do that," he emphasized.


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