Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fall Camp Update (Offense)

Quarterback: The long-awaited debut of true freshman Ebahn Feathers arrived with Tuesday's first practice. Feathers has a long way to go. While he displayed his awe-inspiring quickness rolling out, he was terribly inaccurate on short passing routes. Two things to keep in mind -- he threw mostly on the run (which is more difficult than standing in the pocket) and he's working predominantly with other newcomers or guys coming off their redshirt year (meaning they're still growing and learning too). Tom Brandstater was a visible leader from the get-go, hustling through practice and leading the younger guys from drill to drill, exercise to exercise. He's vocal, keeping the guys loose and confident. Oddly enough, he looked off on several throws, and threw a couple interceptions. Nothing to worry about this early though. Ryan Colburn took lots of reps with the veterans and looks much improved from this time a year ago. Matt Faulkner is now wearing jersey No. 10.

Running Back: All the talk has been about Ryan Mathews since last year ended, but Lonyae Miller just might hold onto that title of "starter" for now. Miller came out with his trademark explosive first step and looks faster and more muscular. He broke several long runs in drills (but keep in mind it wasn't live hitting and no pads, just shells). Mathews play of the day Tuesday was a handoff he took, while twisting and side-stepping upfield past the front seven, then the secondary. Amazing how he turns his hips and runs sideways without losing speed. Anthony Harding didn't take many reps at tailback. Isaac Kinter is going to be a huge weapon at H-back -- think Stephen Spach but faster.

Receiver: Chastin West is back ladies and gents -- no knee brace and showing that same ol' speed. All the receivers seem in extremely good shape with Chastin leading the way in upper body strength. He's also back working in the return game. Marlon Moore is taking return game reps as well, and looks darn good doing it. He's so light on his feet he appears to glide downfield at times. True freshman Rashad Evans is now No. 11 (redshirt freshman J.J. Stallworth switched to No. 82). Evans also took reps returning kicks, and appeared to have hands trouble. He let one kick bounce off his chest and dropped a throw from Feathers earlier in the practice. Devon Wylie is holding his own in every aspect -- quickness and speed. If the endurance is there he's going to be a weapon. Seyi Ajirotutu might be the biggest threat of the bunch, and he's poised for a breakout year.

Offensive Line: Bobby Lepori is already giving the younger guys a hard time in a good-natured way. One of the freshmen blew a blocking assignment while in with the starters and Lepori shouted out, "geez coach, where'd you find these guys!?" Lepori and Cole Popovich seem to have even more added size and will be forces. Joe Bernardi and Adam McDowell took turns repping at center, with true freshman Douglas Spacht (No. 57) taking reps with the newcomers. Andrew Jackson is a monster -- think giant rectangular body i.e. Frankenstein. He may be the biggest NFL prospect on the team. Kenny Wiggins looks in better shape and is just waiting his turn. He's a future standout at tackle. Devan Cunningham on the other hand is still somewhat of a mystery. He doesn't seem to have lost any weight from last season and is still the slowest lineman.

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