Some thoughts on practice

Some thoughts on practice

- First things first, great turnout on Greentree. The crowd stayed through a 15-minute rain delay and started several loud "Let's Go Canes!" chants in the parking garage. The entire event was well-organized and there were even arepas for sale. Nice job by Tom Deahn, Hurlie Brown and the whole crew.

- There were tons of recruits there, including Quay Bain. He is one of the top overall prospects on our board and he was treated that way. A UM staffer was around him at all times and he got serious man-hugs from Golden and D'Onfrio. Looking at him, I can see why the staff wants him so bad. Bain is every bit of 6'4, huge legs, cartoonish hands and a lean basketball player's frame. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't end up a Cane.

- The team overall is bigger and stronger than last year. It's noticeable, especially with guys like Olsen Pierre. The "First Off the Bus" award goes to Ereck Flowers. Physically, he's probably the most impressive freshman I've seen since Orlando Franklin.

- Today's practice was no-contact and didn't really have a ton of offense v. defense until after the lightening break. Nobody should read too much into it. All you can really glean is how guys move and what shape guys are in.

- With that disclaimer, Ryan Williams was steady. It's funny to see the range of reactions on him ("He's the next Dorsey") ("He can't play here"). The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Take it from a guy who has seen a ton of these opening practices over the past 15 years, Williams was pretty sharp. He completed his passes, showed good command of the offense and-- for the complaints about his arm strength--didn't have too many problems with the powerful winds.

Then again, Williams wasn't asked to do too much, either. Most of his work was underneath, and he rarely had to throw it down the field. He doesn't have a powerful arm, but his consistent accuracy impresses me every time I watch him. He threw Kendall Thompkins open a couple times on underneath routes and generally showed good anticipation and ball placement. It doesn't mean anything until he's faced with a live rush, but he got rid of the ball quick today and did a nice job going through his reads. I still believe Morris is unquestionably the guy, but Williams looks like someone who can run this offense.

- Speaking of Morris, he was out there with a coach's whistle. At one point, he threw some routes to receivers and looked pretty much like himself. It's real disappointing that he's missing this spring but he seemed positive and upbeat.

- As would be expected for their second CFB practice, Crow and Dewey struggled throwing the football. The wind didn't help, either. It'd be to unfair to judge them in any way this early, but my quick takeaways are that Crow's arm is the strongest of the three and Dewey is smaller than I had pictured him.

- More than any other player, Dallas Crawford caught my eye this morning. He may have found his home at slot receiver. He worked there almost exclusively and looked very, very quick. I was impressed by how naturally he plucked the ball. There is no true slot receiver on the team, and Crawford has the skill set, feel for the game and toughness to fill that role.

- Rashawn Scott made most of the big plays that were made. During one-on-ones, he made a great adjustment on an underthrown ball, went up and over Brandon McGee and walked into the end zone. Later, he made the catch of the day on a twisting, full-extension grab of a Ryan Williams deep ball down the sideline. Thomas Finnie was all over him and he still made the catch. Scott also caught a corner TD from Preston Dewey during red zone work.

At the same time, he had a few concentration drops where he started to run before securing the football. This spring is very important to Scott, and he has the frame and athleticism to shore up a spot before the freshmen get in. Today was a good start.

- I saw more four-linebacker looks today than I did at any point last year. The standup rushers included Shayon Green, Dwayne Hoilett, Josh Witt and Eddie Johnson. Hoilett actually looked pretty decent in coverage. The defensive play of the day may have been Raphael Kirby breaking on a Preston Dewey pass and almost taking it for six. His burst is impressive- it's no surprise that he had a near 38-inch vertical during UM testing.

Overall, a solid first effort that doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Comments (39)

It sounds like we weren't showing that much today. I can't wait to see how they do during the spring game.
Thanks for the analysis, D.

Nice to hear that about Crawford. We're gonna need playmakers to step up this season.
Also, you've been blowing up Scott for a while now. Really looking forward to seeing him.
Thanks for the info D, can't wait to see what these guys do when the pads come on.
this is like the 3000th year in a row that we hear "the team is bigger and stronger than last year"
If scott looks good that's a good song to me for the incoming class. The same dudes who are sure jones and Carter can't play are the ones who said Scott was a wasted schollie.
this is like the 3000th year in a row that we hear "the team is bigger and stronger than last year"

Don't agree at all. I don't recollect anyone saying that with a straight face during the Shannon yrs.
you crzy....all we heard from fans who went to practices the last few years is how bigger the team was
As someone who use to buy into the spring hype year after year, only to see this team pushed around come game day, forgive me if my first reaction is one of pure skepticism.

But as with everything since Golden has stepped foot on campus, I find myself daring to believe...,
this is like the 3000th year in a row that we hear "the team is bigger and stronger than last year"

We're throwing out 6'7" 300lb QBs and 6'2" 200lb fluid CBs and 6'10" 380lb offensive tackles with basketball feet at the rate of inflation we've been getting bigger and stronger and look better from the year before.