National Team Gets Final Tune Up Before Game
If Day 1 belonged to the offensive side of the ball, then Day 2 was the defensive side’s day to take control. In the morning practice for the National Team, we saw a consistent performance defensively in 1-on-1, team-vs-team run, OL-vs-DL, and 7-on-7. It just sets the stage on what should be a really good Tropical Bowl game day.
Second Level Control
During the 1-on-1s, the linebackers did a fantastic job in coverage. JT Hassell (Florida Tech), Jerry Iweh (Fairmont State) and Bryson Allen-WIlliams (South Carolina) all stood out with their play against backs & tight ends. Allen-Williams has shown really good instincts for the position and has definitely elevated his stock with his week of work; the same for Hassell. I don’t recall seeing him lose many reps in coverage.
On the offensive side of the ball in one-on-one drills, both receivers Floyd Allen (Ole Miss) and Sean Modster (Boise State) proved to be very difficult to cover because of their explosiveness and ability to quickly get in-and-out of breaks. Modster had a really good reception in 7-on-7s as he was able to split two defenders and make a spectacular grab down the rail.
Play of the Day
QB Devlin Hodges (Samford) threw a frozen rope deep down the seam in between two defenders to WR Jody Fortson (Valdosta State) where the 6’6 225lb wideout went up with one hand and was able to snag it while being draped by a defensive back for the touchdown.
Play of the Day II
During 7-on-7s, QB Vincent Espinoza (Lincoln U) threw a nice rainbow deep down the sideline where WR Marquise Irvin (Mercer) was able to go up and make an acrobatic catch to haul in the reception. Espinoza has looked solid this week, stacking back-to-back good performances in All-Star games (FCS Bowl).
Bullying Up Front
Dwayne Wallace (Kansas), Connor Dintino (Pitt), Aaron Monteiro (Boston College) and Deontae Crumitie (Troy) looked fantastic during OL/DL 1-on-1s. These were guys that dominated their reps, winning more than they lost, which is very impressive considering that the drill is essentially set up for the defensive player to win.
LB – Dah-Quan Edrington (6’2 205), Virginia-Lynchburg: Edrington consistent made plays in the Team-vs-Team run period. He’s was getting great run fits, make the right decisions, taking the right angles en route to the ball carrier. He had a really strong day.
DT – Rashad Brandon (6’2 300), Missouri: Brandon plays bigger than his size, meaning he’s a very tough DL to handle; especially when his bull rush is working. He was able to have some success in 1-on-1s.
CB – Herbert Miller III (6’2 195), Florida Atlantic: It’s been a pretty impressive week for Miller. His coverage on Day 2 was particularly strong. You don’t normally see taller corners be able to click-and-close like he does. He uses his length really well, excelling in press man coverage.
CB – Chris Westry (6’4 197), Kentucky: Inside the red zone is where Westry had a ton of success. His length allows him to take away windows, making it tough to complete passes his way. I like his footwork as he’s able to mirror-and-match really well vs receivers.
DL – Brandon Varner (6’3 268), Grambling: Varner had a very good day overall, especially in Team-vs-Team run and in OL/DL 1-on-1s. What’s been impressive about him this week has been his versatility. We’ve seen him line up inside and out on the edge. He was able to find success doing both yesterday.
DE – Walter Brady (6’3 265), Akron: Brady was very vocal yesterday, but definitely backed it up during team-vs-team run. It was his quickness off the ball and ability to use his eyes to find the ball carrier that stood out the most.
LB – Chase Hancock (6’1 230), Marshall: Hancock had a strong week at the College Gridiron Showcase, and was strong here on Day 2. His run fits are consistent and he was solid overall in coverage. I think Hancock is a good, all-around football player.
DT – Boogie Roberts (6’2 300), San Jose State: Roberts was virtually unblockable in 1-on-1s today. Between his quickness and a variety of moves, he was able to consistently win vs the OL.
OL – Matthew Pyke (6’1 301), East Tennessee State: Pyke was at his best during team periods, doing a great job of getting guys off the spot, cutting off penetration and not getting walked back in pass coverage. This is his 2nd all-star game (FCS Bowl) and is making the most of his postseason.
Practice Highlights: National Team – Day 2
Skill Positions vs Defense 1-on-1s