Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Scrimmage Notes

The CMU football team held a situational scrimmage on Friday and here are some notes from the scrimmage:

-Malek Redd has now moved from running back to wide receiver.
- A lot freshmen now have their stripe removed, although one I noticed that still hasn't is Jeff Fantuzzi.
-In the scrimmage, a lot of offensive starters were held out for most of the plays like Antonio Brown, Bryan Anderson, Kito Poblah, Rocky Weaver, and Jake Olson. Eric Fisher and Allen Ollenburger played tackle in most of the possessions.
-The defense dominated once again, despite a score of the CMU offense winning 44-29. The offense couldn't score a touchdown until the ball was placed on the 2-yard line.
-Early possessions started at the CMU 2-yard line where the offense struggled. In the first possession, Sam Williams had a sack on third down to force a three-and-out and in the second set, John Carr intercepted Ryan Radcliff on third down.
-The ball was moved to the CMU 30-yard line where the offense made some first downs, but never reached the red zone. Cesar Rodriguez had a nice day starting at this point as he had two tackles for loss and a sack on the day.
-Andrew Aguila made a 57-yard field goal during a two-minute drill possession.
-On a 4th down and 2 situation from the 7-yard line, Bryan Schroeder was stuffed on a run, giving the defense a turnover on downs. CMU has really struggled in the last few years to pick up the tough yards in the running game.
-After some more late-game simulations that had Aguila make a 52-yard field goal and miss two others over 50-yards, the ball was then placed on the visiting 2-yard line where LeFevour had touchdown passes to Jerry Harris and Matt Torres. Radcliff hit David Blackburn on a touchdown pass and Evan Ray forced a fumble of Blackburn that went out of bounds.
-Derek Rifenbury never took a snap in the scrimmages.

My MVP's for the day would be Cesar Rodriguez on defense and Paris Cotton on offense, but nobody really stood out on offense. I give it to Cotton because he had a kick return of about 70 yards and shook Aguila out of his pants during the return.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Morning Practice Observations

The Chippewas had a two-a-day on Monday, and I was on hand for the morning practice session. Here are a few notes from the practice:

-There were NFL Scouts on hand from the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers. Good chance they were there to look at Dan LeFevour, but who knows for sure. There was also a CFL rep there, perhaps to see Fraser, or get a look at Canadian-born Kito Poblah.
-I noticed Evan Ray no longer had a stripe on his helmet. I didn't notice any other freshmen with theirs removed, but numbers keep changing, so there may be others out there. For now, I have only seen Phillips and Ray without one.
-Kito and Vince Agnew each took big hits during the practice and looked to be shaken up, but each one returned shortly after the play and looked to be fine.
-Malek Redd took a lot of snaps as a slot receiver, much like Jahleel Addae. Not sure if that is going to be a switch for him or not, but I will stay on top of it.
-The practice closed with some two-minute drill scrimmages. The first team moved the ball nicely down the field with LeFevour hitting Antonio Brown on a 30-yard pass. The offense got to the 20-yard line to set up a game-winning kick from Andrew Aguila. Butch Jones freezed Aguila with a time out call just before the kick and then Aguila missed the next attempt.
-When the second team hit the field, Ryan Radcliff threw an interception on the first play to Kashawn Fraser, who had dropped back into coverage.
-The final set up was the offense being down three with no timeouts and the ball on the opponent's 20-yard line. LeFevour hit Addae on a touchdown pass of 20 yards that was called back because of illegal procedure. Aguila ended up making a 38-yard field goal as time expired to end practice.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday's Observations

Well the football team held a live scrimmage Saturday for about an hour, mimicking a regular game. Coaches used headsets to communicate the football was placed at various yard lines with the offense and defense both able to score points. The final total showed the offense winning 28-23, but that was far from the reality, as the defense dominated in my opinion.

Guys like Antonio Brown, Bryan Anderson, Nick Bellore, and Dan LeFevour didn't see too much time for protection from injury, but most everyone that was healthy played. Here are some snippets of what happened:

First and 10 from the CMU 30-yard line:

-The first possession was a quick three-and-out. John Williams made a sack on third down to force the punt. On third down, Keshawn Fraser, Frank Zomb0, and Sam Williams were on the d-line, with Fraser in the middle. Maybe it is to put more speed rushers on the field.
-Second possession saw another quick three-and-out for the second team units.
-Third possession had the offense finally get a first down as Bryan Schroeder had an 11-yard run, but CMU came up short on the next three plays with Tim Phillips getting tackled short of the sticks on third down.
-Fourth possession was a three-and-out where Chris Reeves batted down a pass on second down and Cody Pettit made a sack on third down.
-The fifth possession saw the offense start to move the ball. Zurlon Tipton had a 12-yard reception and picked up an extra 15 yards on a Lorenzo White late hit penalty. Tipton also converted a fourth and two run of seven yards. Tipton then added a 13-yard run to get inside the redzone, but Ryan Radcliff threw an interception on third down in the endzone to John Carr.
1st and 10 from the visiting 49-yard line

-This was the first scoring drive. It started with a 17-yard pass play from Radcliff to Malek Redd. Later, Radcliff threw up a prayer to Jahleel Addae on a blitz by the defense that Addae caught on fourth down for 16 yards. It was first and goal from the 1-yard line that then became fourth and goal from the 2-yard line until Tyler Reed smashed in for a touchdown.
-The next possession was another stop for the defense after a first down for the offense on a Carl Volny seven yard run.

First and Goal from the 9-yard line

-Perhaps frustrated with the offense, Butch Jones placed the ball on the nine for the offense. On the first play of the next possession, John Williams tackled Paris Cotton for a five yards loss on a screen pass, but Kito Poblah made a great catch over Josh Gordy for a 14-yard touchdown from LeFevour.
-On the next possession, Volny scored on a nine-yard run where he was hit at the 5-yard line and fought his way into the end zone.
-The last possession saw four quarterback sneaks from Radcliff, including one on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, which was stuffed by the defense.

The defense pretty much dominated in my opinion and you could see it was getting to the offense. The defense looks good, but the offense is not looking so hot. The line isn’t providing enough protection for plays to develop. Most of the passes were short routes to running backs or slot receivers. I don’t think a pass was completed that was thrown more than 10 yards aside from Poblah’s touchdown.
I would say the best players of the day have to go to John Williams on defense and Zurlon Tipton on offense, but I wouldn’t really say their was an offensive MVP.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Practice Observations

Sorry for the two-day break, but here are some news and notes from Friday's practice:

-I interviewed Tim Phillips for a story for the Morning Sun and he is a very well-spoken kid that seems like he could be the face of the program if his talent continues to develop. I really liked his attitude and demeanor.
-Speaking of Phillips, he was the first freshman to lose their helmet stripe. Freshmen are allowed to remove the stripe when their teammates feel they have proven themselves. Phillips is the first to do so, even surpassing D.J. Scott, Jeff Fantuzzi, and Jason Johnson, all three of which have been here since the spring!!
-Maddux is still hurt and Tim Brazzel was in red today along with Cody Wilson and Bobby James. All injuries are not considered to be serious.
-Steve Winston, who I was told would not be in camp, has been in camp and finally suited up today and took first team snaps at defensive tackle. I guess the depth concerns may have healed Winston up quicker than everyone thought.
-Armond Staten got snaps with the first team in place of Brazzel and Chris Repovz was starting at guard for Maddux with the first team.
-In the skeleton and scrimmage drills, Eric Fraser started things off with an interception of LeFevour on a deep ball.
-Vince Agnew, who played cornerback today, had a nice pass deflection against Bryan Anderson on a throw from LeFevour. Agnew played a lot of snaps at corner while Lorenzo White took snaps at safety.
-Freshman Kyle Zelinsky also had a nice pass deflection on a throw from Radcliff.
-Nick Bellore made a great interception on the run in coverage against LeFevour
-Derek Rifenbury completed a long pass to Jerry Harris as a highlight for the offense.
-Philips had another touchdown run (about 20 yards) where he juked past some linebackers. The coaching staff all had a big smile on their face and acknowledged the run amongst each other before getting back into "coach mode"
-LeFevour landed a long pass of 45 yards to Jeremy Wilson on his best throw of the day.
-During second team offensive plays, Adam Schneid and Eric Fisher were at the tackle positions.
-In the final scrimmage, the defense shined, racking up for sacks. Zombo had two, Dan Jackson had one, and Zelinsky had one.

The defense has looked better as a whole thus far, but Phillips has certainly been a bright spot for the offense. There is expected to be a lot more situational scrimmaging on Saturday, and I will post an update after the practice.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday's Practice Observaions

Tuesday marked the first two-a-day practice schedule for CMU. I attended the morning session which featured a lot of scrimmage drills. The players wore shoulder pads but just shorts on the legs, so the physicality wasn't quite the same as Monday.

-On the injury front, Jeff Maddux was still out in a red shirt to go along with others like Kyle Torzy, Darren Keyton, Shamari Benton, Bobby James, and John Williams. None are believed to be serious, and in the case of Williams, he could be back tomorrow. Kirkston Edwards was also in a red jersey, but was moving around the practice and didn't seem to be seriously injured.
-Also on the injury front, Josh Gordy, LaVarus Williams, Eric Fraser, and Cesar Rodriguez were all out of the green limited-contact jerseys and back in full practice mode. With Edwards out, LaVarus took first team snaps at cornerback.
-In passing scrimmages, the offense looked better today with guys like Cody Wilson, Jeremy Wilson, Jahleel Addae, Antonio Brown and Tyler Reed all catching touchdown passes. Most were long passes, but Brown and Reed each had short passes in a goal line situation.
-Dannie Bolden had a pair of nice pass deflections for the defense, but also missed an assignment that led to a long touchdown pass to Antonio Brown from Dan LeFevour.
-Vince Agnew had an interception on the sideline off a pass from Ryan Radcliff, who made the throw while scrambling.
-In the goal line situations, D.J. Scott and Josh Gordy each had very athletic pass deflections. Scott soared into the air vertically and almost had his hands on an interception, but couldn't quite make the catch.
-In terms of who took snaps where, Cody Pettit and Aaron McCord were taking first team defensive snaps at tackle with John Williams out. Larry Knight also cycled in some snaps at defensive tackle.
-On the second team defense, Rodriguez and Kaczmarski were playing defensive end, while Scott was at cornerback. Kyle Zelinsky and Adam Fenton also got snaps from time-to-time at linebacker with the second team.
-The second team offensive line is very young and inexperienced. Colin Miller was still at center while Mike Repovz, Matt Kanitz, Eric Fisher, Adam Schneid, and Jeff Fantuzzi each cycled in to fill in the other four spots.

-On a side note, Ronnie Kennedy looks a little bigger in pads and not so much like a bobble head anymore.

That is all for today, more notes to come tomorrow.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Practice Observations - First day in pads

Here are my observations for Monday's CMU football practice, the first practice in pads:

- The coaching staff started the hitting right off the bat, during their 1-on-1 battles and also doing the Circle of Life to set the tone for the practice.

-Jeff Maddux was not part of practice today because of injury, doesn't appear to be anything serious, but Matt Kanitz took his spot on the line and played Right Guard while Allen Ollenburger moved to Left Guard.

-A.J. Westendorp has a different throwing style, almost like his hands are too small for the ball and he has to shot put the throws. But, whatever way he does it, he throws a nice spiral.

-In 5-on-5's and 7-on-7's Kito Poblah made some really nice catches and Derek Rifenbury threw some pretty balls. LeFevour also threaded the needle on a couple of sideline throws that looked really nice.

-The second team defense is pretty loaded with true freshmen, which means depth will definitely be an issue on the front seven this year.

-Tim Brazzel had a really nice practice and looked to have a little skip in his step today.

-The practices ended with a short scrimmage. The first team defense allowed a first down before forcing a 4th and 20 thanks to a sack from Larry Knight.

-The second team offense needed just one play on the second team defense, as Tim Phillips went untouched for a 49-yard touchdown run. Phillips had a burst through the line and then made some tacklers miss on his way to the score. Impressive run to say the least.

The Chippewas have a two-a-day on Tuesday, I will be on hand for the morning practice and bring some more notes tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 7, 2009

CMU Practice Observations - Day 2

A few notes from the second day of practice:

- One guy I didn't mention earlier that caught my eye is Mike Repovz. That guy has put on a lot of weight since the spring.
-Just one offensive lineman was in a green jersey, and the rest were healthy, including Matt Kanitz.
-In 5-on-5 drills, Shane Torzy had a really nice interception on Ryan Radcliff. In fact, Radcliff struggled today, under-throwing a lot of his receivers. As a whole so far, the quarterbacks have not looked great.
-In 7-on-7's the offense had to settle for a lot of short throws and weren't able to complete many passes down the field.
-In 11-on-11's Kyle Zelinsky had a nice pass deflection while covering Ronnie Kennedy on a short route. Evan Ray also had a nice interception off a deflected pass intended for Connor Odykirk.
-Practice ended with the four kickers going at it. Andrew Aguila hit 3-of-5 field goal attempts, as did Richie Hogan. Harman hit two kicks and Connor Gagnon made just one.

On a side note, Ronnie Kennedy looks like a life size bobble head. His neck is very skinny. That kid is quick, but he needs to find about 25 pounds quickly.

I am off for the next two days, but will be back Monday to cover CMU's first practice in pads. See you then.

Labels: ,

Football Practice Notes

Sorry it has been a while gentlemen and ladies, but with football starting, expect a lot more updates and live blogging of all of the CMU games for the 2009 season.

Here are some assorted notes and observations from the opening day of practice for the Chippewas:

- Bryan Schroeder and Paris Cotton took most of the carries with the first team offense at running back, which is no surprise, while Carly Volny and the freshmen took snaps with the second team.

-Speaking of running backs, I thought Zurlon Tipton had a nice explosive stride to his running. He looks to be a "down hill" runner that can cover a lot of ground in a short time.

-Ronnie Kennedy is about 130 pounds soaking wet. The kid looks like a middle schooler on the field with all of these big guys around him. Hopefully he can put on some weight quickly, because he clearly has a lot of talent.

-When CMU had four-wide sets during drills, Sean Skergen was getting a lot of snaps with the first team in the other slot, joining Anderson, Brown, and Poblah.

-On the O-Line, no real surprises as it looks like Olson, Maddux, Miller, Ollenburger, and Weaver will be the starting five from left-to-right. Freshman Eric Fisher stands out for his height as a freshman at 6-7. I think if he can put on some weight in the next year, he could be a real asset to the O-line.

-Defensively, Dannie Bolden and John Carr were getting the first team snaps at safety, while Kirkston Edwards and Josh Gordy were at cornerback.

-LaVarus Williams was still in a green jersey, but took snaps with the second team with D.J. Scott. Lorenzo White appears to be fully healthy and participated in the full practice.

-Frank Zombo didn't take part in much contact for precautionary reasons, but John Williams and Chris Reeves were taking most of the first team snaps at defensive tackle. I was quite impressed with the size of most of the freshmen at defensive tackle. Guys like Adam Schneid, Aaron Kaczmarski, and Aaron McCord all looked to be in good size and shape for true freshmen.

-John Williams had a very strong practice and maybe looked as good as anyone on the defense, which did very well as a whole.

I will continue to update the blog as I attend more practices. As always, thanks for reading.
(Thanks to Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis for the photo)

Labels: , ,