MacKenzie Pierre got work with the first team defense and plenty on the second team as well.
When the team practiced a three down linemen set, Pierre moved to a stand-up linebacker with Jeremy Mincey. Pierre got time with the first unit doing that…Jim Tartt left late in practice with a stinger to his shoulder…They started out practice in a fourth down series. DeShawn Wynn ran real hard for a first down on a draw play from 4th and 10 as he bulldozed his way through the defensive line…Second, Skyler Thornton was stuffed at the line on 4th and seven, but on 4th and seven again, the offense ran an option/shovel inside to Dane Guthrie who went untouched for a touchdown…Terrance Holmes returned from "The Pit" and was in a yellow (non-contact) jersey. He was joined on the playing field by Mike McIntosh who was getting full contact but limping a little. McIntosh took a couple of hard hits and hard falls, but otherwise looked fine…The quarterbacks were in on the inside drill. They have to get eight yards through a defender with about a three yard path. It was the first contact drill I have seen the quarterbacks in except for Dickey and Ingram in the "Circle of Life." Leak did not participate…Steven Rissler got work with the first team at center today. As mentioned above, I believe Degory isn't quite up to speed after that bout with mono. He's still gaining back his strength…Coach Meyer drug Dane Guthrie to the side for some one-on-one action, teaching him how to carry the ball for when he gets an option or shovel pitch and has to run inside with it. Guthrie looks very good running his routes and the many other phases of this offense…Jeremy Mincey and MacKenzie Pierre worked as linebackers in the 3-3 alignment in the pass-skel drills…With Degory heated and Tartt getting a stinger, the second team offensive line suddenly contained three freshmen and two sophomores The second line from right to left at the end of practice was RT Phil Trautwein (So), RG Carlton Medder (Rs-So), Center Eddie Haupt (Fr), LG Ronnie Wilson (Fr), and LT Jason Watkins (Rs-Fr)…The strength coaches were ruthless on Kyle Morgan, Javier Estopinan, and Branden Daniel in "The Pit" today…Gavin Dickey traveled with the baseball team to Tallahassee. He went 2-4 with two RBI and a sacrifice to help the Gators beat FSU, 6-2.
THINGS I LIKED: The walk-on running back (Gay) blocked at least his third kick of the spring… It seemed like an exceptionally spirited practice and I think the coaches were egging that on. At the end the offense and defense squared off to see who would win for the day, Meyer and company were busy getting the defense yelling to encourage their teammates… The running game was the best it has looked so far this spring. I thought all three running backs ran especially well inside and outside… When their side of the ball (offense or defense) loses, the players have to run laps. Coaches from the losing side have to run with the players.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE: The punt team had their first kick blocked again. They run an alignment of five up and three back on the snap. There is a huge gap on the right side of the offensive line. The back guys are supposed to absorb the rush of the guys that penetrate. It's not my opinion that counts on this one, but I don't like it…Todd McCullough seemed to struggle in the inside drill…Tate Casey dropped the first ball I have seen him drop all year. He let a Leak pass slide right through his hands during pass-skel drills.
Terrance Holmes exited the pit but was in a non-contact (yellow) jersey today.
HIGHLIGHTS: DeShawn Wynn is playing really well right now. In the first 4th down series he got the first down mentioned above. Check out the play of the day (listed below). He also had a play where he took a hand off, danced a little bit, cut back against the grain and ran in standing for a seven yard touchdown… John Curtis is the second walk-on wide receiver behind Kyle Morgan that will probably see time on the field this year. He laid out DeShawn Carter in the inside drill. Coach Holliday told Carter, he "better not let that happen." … Earl Everett took Markus Manson down hard. Brian Crum then had his turn taking out Manson… Jarvis Herring got a good hit and tackle on Jemalle Cornelius (see picture in the gallery)… Josh Portis drove through Tony Joiner for a score… I don't post many one-on-one highlights but Dallas Baker made a great diving catch for a touchdown in the corner in front of Vernell Brown who was playing him tough but shielded by the bigger Baker… A few moments later Jermaine McCullom jumped a pass to Chad Jackson and got a high five from the defensive staff… The offense has a clear advantage in one-on-one drills. Jemalle Cornelius undressed Reggie Lewis on one pass reception in one-on-one… Leak threaded a corner pass to Dallas Baker during pass-skel drills for a touchdown… Eric Rutledge had a nice break up of a pass to Jemalle Cornelius from Leak. Brandon Siler followed it a couple of plays later to break up another pass from Leak to Cornelius. Suddenly, a lot of the underneath routes aren't there… Pierre Mackenzie intercepted a Josh Portis pass when he dropped in coverage playing a linebacker in a 3-3 defensive set… Chad Jackson continued with great play today. His best highlight was a touchdown catch from Leak during team drills where he stretched high to haul it in at the font corner of the end zone.
Dallas Baker was impressive today.
PLAY OF THE DAY: DeShawn Wynn took a hand off and started right. He cut back against the grain and found a crease to the left where he busted through. About nine yards into the run, he lowered his shoulder and knocked Kyle Jackson back for two more yards. An 11-yard run won't usually get you play of the day, but it had a little bit of everything from Wynn who showed vision with the cutback, quickness with the burst through the hole and power by leveling Jackson at the end of it.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: DeShawn Wynn ran with reckless abandon all day and looked like the player these coaches want on the field.
PASS-SKEL STATS (drops count as catches for QB's): Leak 14-21; Portis 6-8; Ingram: 2-2
THINGS HEARD AND SEEN: Coach John Hevesy (offensive line) was pretty humorous to us onlookers during warm-ups, complaining about the fact the players were only going half speed, even though it was warm-ups… After warm-ups, Coach Meyer yelled out for everyone "How hard can you go, that's all that matters!! How hard can you go!!" He wanted to make sure everyone busted their humps during the practice… In one-on-one segment, Chad Jackson caught a pass from Josh Portis in front of Tremaine McCullom, who continued to fight and after about 3-4 seconds forced a fumble. Coach Heater yelled out, "I love it, I love it, continue to fight!!" Jackson replied, "It was over!!". Heater finished with, "It aint over!!" …Leak got an "atta boy" from Coach Meyer after completing a tough inside pass to Jemalle Cornelius in pass-skel drill. "Great throw!!, Great throw!!" could be heard screaming from Meyer… Kenneth Tookes protested that he was down on a fumble in team drills. Coach Billy Gonzalez didn't care much for his response and yelled, " I don't give a ^&%$, hold the damn ball!!" …Faces in the crowd included Kirk Herbstreit, Donnie Young, Channing Crowder, and Coach Earle Bruce.
Kenneth Tookes towers over Tremaine McCullom
TEAM SESSION PLAY BY PLAY: 1-10 /+25 Leak complete to Tookes, almost fumbles but roiled down.
2-3/+18 Wynn takes hand off right, cuts back and lays out Kyle Jackson for 11 yards
1-7/+7 Wynn dances behind the line while waiting for the hole and bursts through for a touchdown untouched.
1-10/+25 Portis keeper for five yards; Penalty, offensive holding.
1-15/+20 Portis sacked on a blitz.
2-20/+35 Portis is intercepted, MacKenzie drops in zone coverage for the pick.
1-10/+25 Leak breaks containment for eight yards around the right side.
2-2/+17 Leak runs for one yard on a quarterback draw.
3-1 /+16 Thornton gains a foot up the middle.
4-inches/+16 Thornton gets 1.5 yards up the middle.
1-10/ +14 Leak complete to Chad Jackson for 14 yards an touchdown.
1-10/ +25 Markus Manson runs hard inside for eight yards.
2-2/ +17 Manson inside again for seven yards.
1-10/ +10 Manson again for two yards.
2-8/ +8 Manson follow a trap block over the right guard and scores.
1-10/+25 Leak is sacked by Reggie Lewis on a blitz.
2-16/+31 Leaks arm is ht by Steven Harris as he throws, Brandon Siler tips the ball but can't reel it in.
3-16 /+31 Leak incomplete to Caldwell, Caldwell dropped a short pass. (repeat down??)
3-16/ +31 Wynn takes the toss left and makes three people miss before Siler smashes him five yards down field.
1-10 /+25 Portis overthrows Guthrie
2-10 /+25 Manson runs through a hole on the right side for seven yards,
3-3/+ 18 Portis pass batted down by Michael Hill
4-3/+18 Portis hands ball to Jemalle Cornelius on a reverse for 12 yards
1-6/+6 Manson follow trap block on the right side for four yards
2-2/+2 Portis incomplete pass, Harvey forced a bad pass.
3-2/+2 Penalty, Phil Trautwein called for jumping off-sides. 2-7/+7 Portis heads outside on option right, soaks up defensive end and pitches to Thornton, Thornton squeezed into the corner for seven yards and a touchdown.
TEAM SESSION QUARTERBACK STATS (drops count as catches for QB's): Leak 3-4, 1 touchdown; Portis 0-4, 1 interception.