Tropical Bowl: Day 1 Observations – National Team

National Team Kicks Off 2019 Tropical Bowl Practice

Emory Hunt

It was a beautiful day in Daytona Beach, Florida as the 2019 Tropical Bowl got underway. The National Team got things started in the mid-afternoon with their practice, and there wasn’t a shortage of ‘wow’ plays made by both the offense and defense. The only issue from the National practice was the amount of false starts coming from the offensive side of the ball, as guys just couldn’t get the snap count correct. It slowed down the practice and caused a loss in some valuable reps.

Hail 2 Pitt

Day 1 was a great day to be a Pitt Panther as DE Dewayne Hendrix, LB Elijah Zeise and OL Connor Dintino had really good days of practice. Both Hendrix and Dintino were strong in OL/DL 1-on-1s, while Zeise was solid in coverage as well as very active in team periods.

Rock Chalk-EMAW Connection

Along the offensive line, both Dwayne Wallace (Kansas) and Abdul Beecham (Kansas State) had really good 1-on-1 periods. I thought Wallace was the most dominant offensive lineman out there yesterday. I don’t believe he lost a rep during 1-on-1s. You also saw him coaching up the other OL during the drill, like Beecham. The former K-State Wildcat drew rave reviews from scouts because of how well he competed yesterday.

A Lot of Length in the Secondary

One thing that stood out instantly from the National Team practice was how long and athletic they were in the secondary. Kentucky Wildcat corner Chris Westry stands 6’4, corner Herbert Miller (FAU) is 6’2 and his teammate Ocie Rose is also 6’2. Being a taller defensive back can be both a gift and a curse, but yesterday I thought it was all gifts as guys were able to move and transition really well.

Practice Standouts

RB – Isaiah Johnson (5’11 215), Eastern Illinois: Johnson has a 2nd gear that is very impressive. He is very comfortable catching the football and has the type of acceleration that can be a problem trying to defend him in the passing game.

DB – JT Hassell (5’11 200), Florida Tech: Hassell had the hit of the day as he laid his shoulder into Notre Dame Tight End Nic Weishar, who hauled in a reception over the middle of the field. His hit seemed to wake up the defensive side of the ball and brought some much needed energy to practice.

WR – Workpeh Kofa (6’0 205), Charlotte – I was really impressed with the explosiveness of Workpeh. He was able to find soft spots in the zone throughout practice, and once he made the catch, was able to explode past defenders.

DE – Charles Harris (6’4 267), Buffalo – Harris had a strong day going up against the offensive line in 1-on-1s. He can rush with both power and quickness, and shows really good hand usage as well.

DB – Aaron Williams (5’10 185), Nebraska – The coverage skills and technique is strong with Williams. There’s no panic in his approach and he did a really good job yesterday in coverage – both in 1-on-1s and team drills.

Day 1 Practice Highlights (National Team)

WR/RB/TE vs LB/DB 1-on-1 Drills

OL-vs-DL 1-on-1s

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