A much sparser morning crowd descended upon Ladd-Peebles on Thursday, as pretty much all the names that most people would recognize have left already.
I started the day watching the RBs, who were doing some agility and receiving drills.
LeGarrette Blount runs with very high knees and makes very forceful, choppy steps. He squares his shoulders quickly, exuding balance and strength even though he does run high. He received some extra coaching in the passing drills, being instructed to cut sharper and how to present a better target without telegraphing the route. He listened and finished with a ?Yes sir? and showed a little more attention to detail on his next rep.
Oklahoma?s Chris Brown is visibly the most slender of the group, particularly through the hips and thighs. One would think that would portend better quickness, but he consistently took extra steps in the agility drills. He doesn?t have the instant acceleration out of the cuts either. He did look very good catching the ball, including a nice one-handed catch on the full run. I?m reminded of Artose Pinner for some reason.
Lonyae Miller of Fresno State looked very smooth and fluid in the agility drills. He?s very light on his feet. He also needed some extra attention in passing drills, as he was looking back too early and making his flare out too circular and wide. On one rep he got praised mid-rep for running a perfect route, but then lost the catch when he tried to pull a low-but-catchable ball in and it banged off his knee.
Joique Bell of Wayne State earned praise from the coaches for his body lean and footwork, and he comes out of cuts with real giddy-up to his step. However, he was scolded for running the wrong route once and didn?t get his shoulders turned or head around quick enough to make another catch. He did follow that with a nice hand catch on the run.
Virginia?s Rashawn Jackson continues to flash very nice hands and sneaky speed in the open. Reminds me some of Tony Richardson back in his Chiefs days, though the blocking is still a question as little of that is done here.
Maryland FB Cory Jackson is a bit out of his element here, as he is a blocking-type back with poor speed and slow feet for a back. He did reliably catch the ball, and in 11-on-11 he threw a real nice block that drove Washington LB Donald Butler well backwards.
Next I went to the corner of the end zone and watched the offensive linemen. OL Coach George Yarno had his work cut out for him Thursday, as the group struggled with footwork and agility drills.
Virginia Tech T Ed Wang has shown steady improvement throughout the week, and on Thursday he was the best of the tackles, both in drills and in 11-on-11. He?s not as athletic and doesn?t explode from his stance, but Wang showed powerful arms and improved knee bend. His week is similar to that of Illinois? Xavier Fulton last year, who raised himself from UDFA to 5th rounder.
Sam Young of Notre Dame had his best day, by far. He looked very spry in agility drills and did a much better job of staying lower in his stance. In 11?s he fired out and turned the OLB to the side on one rep, then followed that up with a nice interior seal block on Purdue?s Mike Neal, who had a poor day.
Utah?s Zane Beadles continues to have a tough week. Coach Yarno harped on him more than once for rounding off his cone drill, and in 11?s he was beaten to the gap by Jared Odrick and failed to square up on another.
Vanderbilt tackle Thomas Welch was a late addition (replacing Jon Asamoah) and drew major ire from the coaches in agility drills, as he was unable to complete a rep without knocking over a cone. Every guy knocked one over at least once, but Welch hit at least one every rep and it wasn?t always the same one. He is very tall and powerfully built but, like Young, struggles to bend at the knees and get good pad level.
UMass project Vlad Ducasse had a better overall day. I?ve been pretty harsh in my evaluation of him this week, but he looked very good in the red zone 11?s drill, firing out and blowing back Murray State DE Austen Lane once and quickly locking up TCU LB Daryl Washington in space on another rep. He also earned audible praise when he completed the cone drill without knocking over a cone, though on his earlier reps he was admonished for looking at his feet while he made his turns.
Penn State DT Jared Odrick continues to shine. In one red zone rep the defense ran a zone blitz, with Odrick dropping back from the 3-technique and staying right with Blount to the back of the end zone. On another play he knifed through the B gap and beat QB Dan Lefevour to the spot on a designed rollout. On that same play Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington also easily dodged the block and displayed textbook pursuit technique of Lefevour, who threw the ball away.
Notre Dame safety Kyle McCarthy had a very good day, quickly sniffing out and attacking a reverse for a big loss. He also quickly swooped in front of Oregon TE Ed Dickson in the end zone, cutting off a passing lane just as Tony Pike was about to throw the ball. It?s a play that none of his teammates saw but earned him major praise from the secondary coach.
Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko had a much better day, getting much better height and depth on his kicks. His place-kicking counterpart, Michigan State?s Brett Swenson, really struggles on kickoffs to get the ball past the 10 yard line.
Click below for more reports from Mobile
- Monday Senior Bowl Notes
- Tuesday Notes (North)
- Tuesday Notes (South)
- Wednesday Notes (North)
- Wednesday Notes (South)
- Thursday Notes (North)
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