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DAY 2: Is There a NEW Fly Sweep Play???

I know that I can't say anything about him that hasn't already been said, but it's been a treat to watch SAMMIE STROUGHTER in the opening weekend of practice. You can hear him laughing on almost every play. I guess he thinks it's funny to be on a whole 'nother level? I can't really blame him.

Here are the rest of my observations from today and a few from yesterday's live action, in no particular order:

  • THERE IS A NEW FLY SWEEP PLAY, is it possibly even more beautiful than Fire Arc Ghost, the play that allowed walk-on running back Matthew Sieverson to gash last year's lowly 5th place team for an untouched 42 yard scoring run straight up the middle, in the Bend native's first start? Well, it's called..............

Fire Arc Nevada ...and it's really hard for me to tell whether a defense would rather defend that or just a regular fly sweep. No, I'm not telling you what it is. As far as I'm concerned, it has wrapping paper and a little tag on it that says: "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL PENN STATE."

  • AIR DRILLS: They're running a lot of "11 vs. Nobody" plays with the offensive teams. They're doing it to adjust to the new play clock rules. One group is huddling and calling their play while the next group is at the line of scrimmage and running their play. It's like an assembly line, a Mr. RoDgers video-you might say.
  • MY AMATEUR RUNNING BACK EVALUATION:...Unfortunately, they're really not calling any running plays in the 11v11 scrimmaging until the shoulder pads get broken out later in the week. They're mostly calling the running plays only in the 11v0 (no defense) drills, so it's hard to tell anything. When they do, there's no contact anyway, so we really aren't learning anything about this position. Ryan McCants is with the 1's, Jacquizz and JEREMY FRANCIS are splitting time with 2's and 3's. That's really all we know.
  • PUNTER WATCH 2008: "Lost at sea, no land in sight."
  • VICTOR BUTLER is disruptive. I hope he doesn't look so good because the O-line just sucks, but....I wonder??? Either way, the V is for Sack.
  • KEYNAN PARKER is so fast that when they throw him a deep ball on a streak during position drills, he has to pull up to adjust his speed for the last FIVE steps, instead of just one or two. I know they want to redshirt him, but can they redshirt his wheels??
  • UNA SMILEY has probably lost more weight than Lyle Moevao. When he came into the Spring, I thought it was going to be a long shot (no pun intended) that he could get down to a weight that would let him play. He still has a long way to go, but he's really improved a lot. He looks much more agile and coordinated after losing what I would guess to be 30 pounds. I couldn't be more proud of him for that. Now he just has to learn the plays and stay on Coach Cavanaugh's good side. He has an amazing story already, if he ever plays it will be a miracle.
  • BEN TERRY looks like a 4% larger clone of Victor Butler, but he doesn't know the defense yet. I think some of the D-line guys need to take him under their wing, because he could be good with a little tutelage.
  • RIGHT TACKLE--they've been giving everyone time here: MIKE REMMERS, WILDER McANDREWS, CV3000, UNA SMILEY, and someone else whose name I forgot.
  • TAVITA THOMPSON has such a good, positive attitude. I talked to him a lot the last two days and I think that he might be my new favorite player. I hate the NCAA more now than ever.
  • JEREMY PERRY was only doing drills. When they moved to doing live plays with the full team, he was just watching, but I'm not stupid enough to tell him that he needs to practice more.
  • RYAN McCANTS is faster than crazy while coming out of the backfield on a swing pass. He's one of those people who make the ground pound when he runs. You wonder how someone can be that big and also be that fast.
  • JACQUIZZ RODGERS was getting reps with the 2nd team already! He doesn't know the playbook yet, and they were running plays over sometimes for him. You look at his face and think he'stwelve, then you look at his calves and think he's The Incredible Hulk.
  • JAMES RODGERS put an insane skip cut on Victor Butler during an end-around play on Friday, and while he was changing direction, you could hear him taunting VB with, "Sppeeed Killls!" James had 2-3 flysweeps that he took for about 15-20 yards each. It was a "non-contact" play, but....we've all seen him and we know that contact really doesn't matter. He's catching a lot more balls in the passing pattern as well.
  • GENO MUNOZ had a fantastic diving catch in a position drill, everyone in attendance cheered--I think it was the only time everyone clapped all day.
  • AARON NICHOLS (I think?) tried to outdo him on the next play, by laying out for a ball that was overthrown by about 10 yards...the receivers all laughed.
  • BRADY CAMP had a sick one-handed catch in the same set of drills. He was in-stride and .......wait a sec....why didn't he use two hands??
  • DAY ONE vs. DAY TWO: the biggest difference between the two days was that the number of dropped passes decreased significantly.
  • It hurts me to say this because I like how intensely he usually practices, but Cas ey Kjos was open A LOT today, but just not catching a lot in the 11v11 drill.
  • AUSTIN HALL just loves to practice.
  • KEVIN FRAHM & CARL SOMMER are goofballs. They talk a lot of trash to each other.
  • KEENAN LEWIS & TIM CLARK are competitors. They talk a lot of trash to each other.
  • SAMMIE STROUGHTER now makes cartoon sound effects! He was making a screeching tire sounds while he was stopping and changing direction during 11v11 scrimmaging. It was pretty hilarious. He also did a very hard 'air block' on an 11v air play, which he finished with a somersault. Coach Riley yelled out, "Nice block, Sammie!" Then, because the next unit was already lining up to make their play, Sammie came up and gave a Seigler-esque impersonation of a blitzing linebacker: leaning in at an angle, hands down and out behind him. I had to laugh.
  • BRANDON HARDIN is probably the biggest cornerback in the Pac-10. He SHUTDOWN Sammie Stroughter at the line of scrimmage on one play--just shoved him down from their hand contact,and the quarterback had to throw to the other side of the field. It was good lesson for Sammie, because I think that will be the only way a team can slow him down this year. Hardin had another really good jam at the line that I didn't see, but Kevin Frahm yelled out, "That's those D-line handfighting skills I've been teaching you! That's why I let you stay at my house!" they and Carl Sommer are roommates.
  • SEAN CANFIELD had the most noticeable improvement of any individual player from day one to day two. Day one was not kind to Sean. He basically had the 4th fastest ball of the quarterback group, and I was contemplating just how much it would suck to burn Ryan Katz's redshirt season, but it seemed to be a lot better on Saturday. It was "maybe he could still be the guy we all used to know" better. However, he just isn't right now. Not yet. I'm going to hold off my judgment for at least a week, and I'm suggesting that you do the same if you have any sort of cardiac condition. I read a Cliff Kirkpatrick article that said he hasn't thrown at 100% all summer--just because there was no reason to throw full speed. There is a reason to now that practice has started, though. I have to think that his change in velocity will delay (at least) any chance he had at getting his starting job back.
  • Final random thought: I don't think that I've seen any player besides James Rodgers run a fly sweep in practice--this year or last. Who is the backup for that play--not the 2nd string slot guy--I mean just for that play? (I would LOVE to see Keynan Parker try it.)