Day of full pads and also real refs on a Saturday in Memorial. Football is really here. Lots of team periods in THUD tempo. Being that I am one man and do not have tape to rewind here’s my perspective from all of the team moments from today’s practice.
Lots of team periods and getting full drives in. Special Teams got in to kick some field goals as well.
Starting with the Special Teams. Some solid kicks from Dario Longhetto. Newcomer Senior kicker Nick Ramos struggled with some kicking distances. It was tough to tell whether it was a blown protection or a great jump off the snap by the block team but Tyson McWilliams got his hand on two kicks. Coach Wilcox said the same thing in his presser which you can see below.
Nice to see Daniel Scott back on the field and practicing in full. A much-needed addition to the rotation at safety.
Ben Coleman was a standout again on the OL. They moved him around all across the OL. I think they’re trying to find the right spot to play him at or seeing if he could be the first rotation OL off the bench to plug any gaps as they see fit.
These are just my eyeball stats from the first team period so take them with a huge grain of salt since the refs did not blow plays dead right away and it wasn’t full contact.
Chase Garbers - 8/14, no sacks, no INTs, no TDs
Zach Johnson - 3/6, 2 sacks, no INTs, no TDs
Kai Millner - 5/10, 1 sack, no INTs, no TDs
DL Ethan Saunders has another stand-out day. 2 Sacks and a TFL. He has been a real nice surprise slotting in right behind JH Tevis as his understudy.
That depth behind the first team DL is going to pay dividends as the season progresses. The youth is being developed at a nice rate. Kudos to Coach Browning who everyone raves about for being a great coach and developer.
Catch of the Day - TROND GRIZZELL. HELD BACK AND STILL MADE THE CATCH DOWN THE SIDELINE. BASKET CATCH WITH HIS OUTSIDE ARM.
Monroe Young once again showcased his footwork and route-running ability. He is looking like a very versatile assignment player for Musgrave this season. He’s a great blocker and very good in tight spaces using his footwork and body balance to weave through some tight running lanes after the catch.
Talking about him in back-to-back days, Mavin Anderson once again got reps in with the 1s and 2s. He’s moving on up in the depth chart and brings a unique skill set to the position group. Very good with certain route packages and YAC.
One more WR to talk about is Justin Baker. He’s finding his own little niche in the offense with his explosiveness and speed. They used him on an endaround today and are trying to get him into space like the Chiefs did early on in Tyreek Hill’s career. (Kudos to our writer Piotr Le for making that connection when we were on the phone talking through the play).
It’s really tough to gauge and assess the OL and run game right now. With no live tackling, it’s hard to see if running lanes that are open now and lenient calls on the play would be the same in full contact situations. The OL has its moments in pass protection but has also seen some breakdowns in the protections. Can’t tell if it’s the calls or miscommunication, but they’re still working through it as they’re trying to break in a new center and rotation around the guards in one camp. Something to watch next week at the open practice
Also had a chance to catch up with DL Ethan Saunders and OL Ben Coleman. Here’s what they had to say in our talk:
You had a pretty good day to day. Oh, I mean, from what we saw, we would have given given you two sacks
Ethan Saunders - Man, you see they try to get me on the second one. Um, I have to avoid him, I touched him I had to avoid him. But you know, they gonna say what they're gonna say so, but I got him though.
How's that feel? Just like just getting back out there? And you know,
Ethan Saunders - It feels good. I mean, I'm not surprising myself. Already know I can do all this. I just got hurt.
Yeah, I mean, with a lot of the older guys back, right. Luke coming back. And what what have you noticed in that in that d-line room, like has anything changed from last year to this year? I mean, we talked about the depth but just the room as a whole with the vibe and everything.
Ethan Saunders - As far as defense of defensive line as a group. I just think we've collectively come together. And as far as Luke is just the experience side of it, and it just makes you want to step up a little bit. So that's about it.
Talk me through what was your feeling when you saw Wilkins make that one-handed interception
Ethan Saunders Oh man I was like Derek, who? One-handed? Okay, we was going crazy on the sideline.
Yeah. I mean, Coach Sirmon talked about how he'd never seen Coach Browning run that fast. Like it was a blur. Like, is that is that Browning's, you know character?
Ethan Saunders - Yeah, that is. Man, Coach Browning and man that dude. He's that guy. He's that coach and he's that d-line coach. We love them to death, and we'll go to war for him. And with that energy, that means ain't doing nothing but it's making us excited and want to go make some more plays.
Last question for you is only a few more weeks till your first game September 4th, what's one of the things that you're going to be working on heading up to game day?
Ethan Saunders As far as right now? I'm just making sure my technique is on point. You know, I'm slowly being introduced to the game again, so I'm just trying to make sure that I'm technique. Great, and just that's about it. I'm
Just raring to go?
Ethan Saunders - I'm just ready. Oh, like I don't even know what else to say. I'm just ready. It's like you know?
We've seen you pretty much flash all of camps so far, how are you feeling on in terms of just being back out there and getting that run with the ones and the twos?
Ben Coleman - I feel great definitely. I think the biggest part for me is getting 1% better every day. And that's been the goal for o-line as a group as well a goal as the team. So getting reps wherever I can get them, the more reps I get is the better.
Coach Angus has kind of has moved you around, all throughout the o-line, is there any particular position that you feel most comfortable as of right now.
Ben Coleman - Not one specific position. I pride myself on being as versatile as I can. And that's what it's turned into here. And I'm glad that I'm able to fill a role like that. So there's not one position that I feel best, so I'm ready to fit in where to coach want me to and you know anything that we can do to get a win.
In terms of the offense. You know, some of the guys has talked about maybe this season being a little bit more expansive, doing a lot more things, whether that be the o-line or wide receivers or, or any other positions, you kind of see that being opened up and doing a lot more exciting things from an offensive perspective.
Ben Coleman - Definitely. I think last year with the COVID season, it was just everything was just so unpredictable. As far as who we were playing when we were playing, guys went out because of COVID protocol. So now coming back into hopefully we continue on this path from a health standpoint, back to a more normal season that we have a chance to open up and really get into Coach Musgrave's playbook, because everybody knows that that playbook is a big one. He has a lot of tricks under of his sleeve.
I mean, I'm sure you've never experienced anything like last season. But that like first weekend where you guys were supposed to play one team and then you guys switched to UCLA within like a 24 or 48 hour span. Like what was that like from a preparation standpoint? How has that changed? Would that change anything for you?
Ben Coleman - I think everything in football is about adjusting and being ready. I think when you go play a team and you get in the game, they're going to adjust and you have to be able to adjust to, to what they do and how they change their defense. So it's the same thing is that you have to adjust to everyday tests from the energy and we got to adjust to getting the testing down near campus. So it's just it's just next man up mentality as far as guys are out at protocol. So that's why you got to stay ready at all times. And as far as the COVID situation is, that's the reality we live we accepted and we do our best to maintain that as best so we can go forward as a team.
Are you impressed with some of the younger guys that have come in and played? Or is anyone really caught your eye where you're like, wow, that guy's coming in. He looks ready to play
Ben Coleman - Well definitely. I think all of them all of them as a whole. I think last year we didn't have depth at d-line, so I have an opportunity to have depth at d-line with Jaedon and those guys have Luc you know, everybody just back. Being out there is big time for us. You know, and I think that all the young guys from the people that are starting their first year going through their second year here, school-wise, they're all ready to go and having people back having Ethan Saunders back is big time as well.
I mean, you look physically you're ready to play over the next two weeks. What are your points of emphasis leading into that first game against Nevada?
Ben Coleman - Well, I think the best thing is that work on my hands, work on my feet. And like I told you before, just continue to get better and 1% better every day so that when we get when we play Nevada and we play whoever's on the schedule that all of us are taking that step every day, stacking the day stacking the days, we're in the dog days of fall camp. So we're going to continue to keep the ball rolling. So that on the first game that we have and the games after that is smooth riding.
That’s it for this week. We will have more coverage from Fall Camp next week as well! Until next week.