Just in time for today’s practice, here’s a quick recap of the practice/scrimmage from Saturday. I don’t have a lot to say that’s different from Condotta or anyone else, but here are my quick thoughts.
Quarterback: We spent most of the drills watching the quarterbacks. Locker looks excellent. I only saw him miss two, maybe three throws at most. The back-ups are hard to figure. Keith Price looked good throwing the short stuff, some of the time, but wasn’t accurate at all throwing more than five yards past the line of scrimmage. Nick Montana, was much more accurate overall, but his arm looks a little weak right now and it took him a second longer to deliver the ball than the other two. It wasn’t a release issue, just a processing issue, which isn’t too surprising. A lot of the time, he’d struggle with the first pass on a route, and then the next time throwing it, he’d be right on. He’s also as skinny as a rail. I’m sure he’ll keep improving significantly, but I’m not sure either one of them could win many games right now.
Running Back: Those two freshman are good. They had some mistakes, especially Callier with catching the ball, but they both looked significantly more talented than any of the other running backs (Polk is out). Cooper looks a lot like Polk to me, and had a nice run through traffic that he broke out for a touchdown. Callier is very shifty, and had one of the highlights on a run where he reversed field and then juked a guy to the ground before bouncing it outside for a few more yards. Both will play a lot, I’d say. Callier looks like an answer at kick returner especially, if he can catch.
Wide Receiver: Not much to say except that they’re going to be excellent. Kearse and Aguilar might be the best wide receiver tandem in the conference.
Tight End: Didn’t notice a whole lot with them, but I wouldn’t take that as a criticism. Izbicki actually looked a little better than Middleton, but that could be just circumstances. He’s a big dude, though.
O-Line: Hard to say anything here, so I won’t. There were some nice runs in the scrimmage though and I noticed linemen blocking downfield a few times, so those would seem to be good signs.
D-Line: They actually looked pretty good, given the circumstances. I think Elisara will stick at end. It just looks a lot more natural for him, and makes for a big line if Thompson can come back and play the other end. Duncan had a nice play, I believe during drills, where he got through the line to the running back. Overall, I was encouraged.
Linebackers: Mason Foster has that man among boys look about him. It’s early, but I told Andrew he’s my sleeper pick for Pac-10 defensive player of the year. He and Cort Dennison, along with Matt Houston, really stand out size-wise compared to the other backers. Logan looked extremely fast, so I’ll be curious to see how he can stand up against the run in a real game.
Secondary: Nathan Fellner looked a lot better from last year, and made some big hits. Boyles was with the second team, but clearly has all the tools. He’s probably the biggest corner and looks confident. But he clearly isn’t there yet, and with his history, you have to wonder if he ever will be. I think he’s probably the type where he either won’t see the field a ton or he’ll be one of the best corners in the conference. It will either click or it won’t. Overall, the secondary looked pretty good, even with Nate Williams playing sparingly. Williams looked good, by the way. I can’t remember the play exactly, but he did something that made Andrew and I both comment on his improvement and how he wouldn’t have made that play before. Him taking a step forward would be huge.
Kickers: Two of the walk-ons were kicking from the goal line at the sideline towards the goal-post on the same end, and they both managed to hit the upright one after the other. One of them also seemed to have trouble kicking it across the field, so I wouldn’t take that as a good sign or anything, but they were really excited.
Making judgements from one practice and a quick scrimmage is tough, so don’t take any of this too seriously. I came away moderatly impressed, though. As long as Locker is healthy, this offense will be tough to stop, and that’s the clearest path to a bowl this team has.
Practice Tuesday at 4:00. Head on out and bring your rain gear!