Wednesday Practice Notes
I spent the majority of both practices focused heavily on the offensive line. But, I did peek my head downfield to keep at least one eye on what was going on.
Here’s who stood out to me from both practices, not along the offensive line
- Ohio State LB Chris Worley
- Pitt CB Avonte Maddox
- Miami DE Chad Thomas
- Florida State LB Jacob Pugh
- Louisville Saftey Chucky Williams
- Houston WR Steven Dunbar
- UCLA Linebacker Kenny Young
- Troy RB Jordan Chunn
Here’s a look at an extensive look at both offensive and defensive lines during 1-on-1 drills today:
Tuesday Practice Notes
Much better practice overall on Tuesday for the East Team. The intensity and effort was turned up a notch today. Which speaks to the job the coaching staff must’ve done overnight, because this was a totally different team.
Here are some quick takeaways from the East practice on Tuesday
- Montreal Carabins WR Regis Cibasu is a big, burly WR (6’3 232). His size and his game is very similar to last year’s Shrine Game participant & current Philadelphia Eagles WR/HB Billy Brown. I think Cibasu has a future in the NFL as a pseudo H-Back.
- It didn’t matter if it was Half-Line Drills, 1-on-1 or Team Period, West Virginia C Kyle Bosch had a tremendous day blocking. Both in the running game and in pass pro, he was consistent and effective.
- Penn Quaker WR Justin Watson had a bounce-back day. I spoke with him after practice and he described his up-and-down Monday as shaking of the rust. Today he had a spectacular catch over the shoulder as he split two defenders. I didn’t see a pass hit the ground thrown his way this morning.
- South Florida’s Quinton Flowers was also much improved today throwing the football. He also stepped back in Special Teams drills and returned some punts, in which he looked natural doing so.
- JT Barrett has been flat out impressive throwing the football here at the Shrine Game practices. There’s something to say for a guy that’s played a lot of meaningful football, so this stage isn’t too big for him and he’s definitely owning the field. He’s playing how you would expect a 4-year player to do so.
- The 1-on-1s today were evenly split. I thought the receivers had much better days against the defensive backs and the offensive line was able to step up a bit more against the defensive line. Dee Delaney (Miami) and Brandon Facyson (Virginia Tech) are very physical players that had good days today defending the pass.
- Avonte Maddox of Pitt was extremely impressive. What instantly jumps out at you is his terrific footwork. That keeps him tied hip to hip with many receivers and always in position to break on the ball and make a play.
- Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Safety Tracy Walker posted back to back strong days.
- Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain has been impressive as well, posting consecutive good days on the perimeter. He looks to be the deep threat on this East Team.
Here are some of the OL-vs-DL practice highlights from Tuesday
Here is a look at some of the WR-vs-DB highlights from Tuesday’s practice
The West Practice has a lot more chatter than the East side, and their intensity – especially on defense – was just a high as it was on Monday.
Here are some quick takeaways from the West Practice on Tuesday
- It was a rough day for the QBs on the West Team. They were picked off 3 times today. They’ve been battling inconsistencies in all parts. The good news is that there’s still 2 more days of practice to turn it around.
- Speaking of those interceptions, Dane Cruikshank (Arizona), Joshua Kalu (Nebraska) and Davontae Harris (Illinois State) were the ones that came away with the INTs.
- Cruikshank had a remarkable day. With each and every rep, he gained more confidence.
- Louisiana Tech’s Secdrick Cooper had a strong showing today as well.
- Sam Houston State’s P.J. Hall has caught the attention of a lot of the pro scouts here in attendance. His ability to ‘hit the switch’ in team periods and 1-on-1s is raising some eyebrows. He’s definitely easing some of the ‘size’ questions scouts may have had about him coming into the week.
- Delaware’s Bilal Nichols (6’4 290) has also been very impressive in these first two days. Nichols shown the versatility to play multiple spots up front.
- Missouri’s Marcell Frazier was once again on point today in team periods. He’s been virtually unblockable.
- Wisconsin’s Safety Natrell Jamerson does an excellent job verses the run. He was good in that area today. In individual periods, I was impressed with his overall fluidity at the position.
- The offensive line in 1-on-1 today picked up the pace. They were able to win a lot of battles this afternoon. Washington State’s Cody O’Connell was nearly perfect in all of his reps. So was Center Jake Bennett of Colorado State and Tackle Greg Senat of Wagner.
- Phillip Lindsay was very impressive in pass protection drills. Despite being the smallest running bak, Lindsay didn’t shy away from incoming blitzing backers and held his own completely.
- Justin Jackson of Northwestern is starting to separate himself as the starting tailback. He’s been quietly performing really well.
- Don’t sleep on the special teams. Matthew McCrane of Kansas State is a very good kicker and will be a legit weapon during the game.
Here is a look at some of the OL/DL battles in 1-on-1 and overall team period
Here’s a look at the RB/TEs vs LBs and WRs vs DBs highlights from Tuesday
Monday Practice Notes
You can tell that this was the first practice of the week. The offense got out to a sluggish start. A lot of passes hit the ground. Some were due to great defensive play, some were drops.
Here are some quick takeaways from the East Practice on Monday
- I thought JT Barrett of Ohio State had the best day of the 3 QBs on the roster. Barrett also was very popular from the fans in attendance, making sure to sign every kid’s memorabilia after practice.
- In the backfield, Fordham’s Chase Edmonds and South Florida’s D’Ernest Johnson turned a lot of heads. Both backs were able to showcase their acceleration and shiftiness in team periods.
- WR DaeSean Hamilton’s ability to work himself open was evident both on tape and in live viewings this season; nothing changed today at practice.
- Along the offensive line, Oklahoma State Center Brad Lundblade’s hand work was excellent. He shows the ability to ‘play the piano’ well and held his on in 1-on-1s.
- North Carolina State’s Guard Tony Adams is what would classify as a ‘mauler’. You can tell he enjoys the physicality of playing up front.
- Penn’s Justin Watson, IMO had a Cooper Kupp-Senior Bowl-like practice today. Dropped some passes, but was able to get open in the short/intermediate area. He’ll get significantly better as the week progresses.
- Speaking of the wideouts, Northern Iowa’s Daurice Fountain and Montreal’s Regis Cibasu will become bigger names after this week. Pitt’s Jester Weah has the workman-like game that scouts definitely appreciate.
- Defensively, the star of the day was North Carolina State’s DE Kentavius Street. Street was moved across the defensive line and consistently found numerous ways to the QB. This was in both team and 1-on-1s.
- Ohio State’s LB Chris Worley made a lot of plays in the passing game. He looked very comfortable in coverage and was quick to respond in run support.
- Slippery Rock DE Marcus Martin has game that’s very similar to former Shrine Game standout Kyle Emanuel (NDSU). He was also impressive today.
- Tracy Walker of Louisiana made an immediate impact in the secondary taking over as the leader of the group. He’s a tall, rangy guy with solid ball skills.
- I also liked what I saw from USF’s Deatrick Nichols, Avonte Maddox of Pitt and Safeties Trey Marshall of FSU & Jamar Summers of UConn.
Here’s some of the Practice Highlights from the East Team’s Monday Practice
The West Team seemed to be a bit more ready to hit the ground running. The tempo was set very early this afternoon at St. Petersburg High School.
Here are my quick takeaways from Monday’s West Team practice
- UNLV’s WR Devonte Boyd’s footwork and release off the LOS is phenomenal. He’s a guy that consistently found himself open today.
- Holy Speed Batman! Oklahoma’s Jeff Badet has a 2nd and 3rd gear he can hit when tracking the football.
- I thought the defensive back group played some really good ball today. There weren’t any freebies for the WRs. From corner Malik Reaves of Villanova, to Safeties Natrell Jamerson of Wisconsin and Cole Reyes of North Dakota, that group was the most cohesive of the entire team.
- Alberta’s Mark Korte has tremendous athleticism getting out and around on run plays. In 1-on-1s, I thought he was able to more than hold his own from a strength perspective. Excited to see him build on what he did today.
- The West Team defensive line is LOADED with guys that can get after it. Joe Ostman (Central Michigan), P.J. Hall (Sam Houston State), Bilal Nichols (Delaware) and Justin Lawler (SMU) really showed out today in both team and 1-on-1s.
- However, the stud up front today was Missouri’s Marcell Frazier, who seemed to get into the backfield whenever he wanted to this afternoon. He put on an impressive performance.
- Both Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (Arkansas State) and Tegray Scales (Indiana) are solid, all-around players that’ll make themselves some money this week.
- Fellow Arkansas State Red Wolf TE Blake Mack is getting some work inline, which is going to be fairly new to him considering where he played at ASU. He didn’t look overwhelmed at all in the run blocking department.
- WR Jake Wieneke of South Dakota State showed the ability to play above the rim consistently. What stands out about his game is his ability to track and attack the ball at its highest point.
Here’s a look at some of the practice highlights from the West Team on Monday