West Team Practice Gets Underway
Initially what stands out to you about the West Team here at the East West Shrine Game, is how long and athletic they are in many areas in their personnel. What a great collection of talent put together on this team this year.
There was a lot of focus on the QBs today as Brett Rypien (Boise State), Marcus McMaryion (Fresno State) and Easton Stick (North Dakota State) took the field. I thought Rypien was slightly the more consistent today, but all seemed to throw the ball well during separate times at practice. To me, they all were about the same but Rypien probably gets the nod because of his level of consistency. I also thought he had some good pop on the ball in the intermediate range.
OT – Trey Pipkins (6’7 307), Sioux Falls: Pipkins not only looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman, but was able to play the part as well. For a taller guy, he does not struggle to get good leverage and was able to perform well on both ends of offense. I’m excited to see how he is able to build on a strong Day 1 performance.
Earlier I mentioned the length and athleticism within the personnel on the West Team and that immediately shows itself in the receiving corps. KeeSean Johnson (Fresno State), Ron’quavion Tarver (Utah State), Cody Thompson (Toledo) and Brody Oliver (Colorado School of Mines) are all 6’2/6’3 and explosive. It was impressive to see taller receivers have no problem getting in-and-out of their breaks as if they were all 5’9. Johnson caught the ball extremely well yesterday and Tarver had an excellent showing during 1-on-1s. The other receivers like Shawn Poindexter (Arizona) and Jon Duhart (Old Dominion) have that physically imposing size that yields itself to having a home on the outside at the NFL level.
TE – Kendall Blanton (6’6 265), Missouri: Blanton has impressive acceleration for a 265lber. I thought he was solid during both 7-on-7 and in 1-on-1s.
RB – Darrin Hall (5’11 225), Pitt: Hall just has a natural feel for the running game. Patient, consistent and fluid would aptly describe how he attacks the line of scrimmage when given the ball.
OT – Juwann Bushell-Beatty (6’6 318) Michigan: I thought Bushell-Beatty was outstanding during OL/DL 1-on-1s, showcasing a powerful punch and good footwork to stonewall defensive linemen.
The one defensive lineman that proved to be a nuisance throughout the day was Texas DT Chris Nelson. He was disruptive in 9-on-7, consistently finding himself in the backfield. And in 1-on-1s, Nelson showed impressive hand usage to free himself of blockers throughout the period.
CB – Blace Brown (6’0 191), Troy: Brown was as good as advertised yesterday. What’s impressive about his skill set is that he’s patient in coverage, doesn’t panic when the ball is in the air, and has good spatial awareness. I thought he had a strong opening practice.
DL – Markus Jones (6’3 260), Angelo State: Quietly, Jones had one of the more consistent days of all the defensive lineman/edge rushers. His dip under move was on point during 1-on-1s. Jones doesn’t stay blocked for long as he finds different ways to win vs an OL.
LB – BJ Blunt (6’1 220), McNeese State: Blunt’s speed and acceleration makes him a threat at the 2nd level. You were able to see yesterday him being moved around the defense, putting him in favorable situations to have success. You saw him get better with each rep during team-vs-team.
Practice Highlights – Day 1 (West Team)