CMU Spring Practice Notes: Day 1
Each member of the team and coaching staff wore name tags on helmets or apparel to get comfortable with each other and a lot of new terminology and plays were used. Here are some observations I had at practice:
- Some injuries to note right now are Jeff Maddux, Paris Cotton, John Williams, Steve Winston, and Darryll Stinson. There were others, but those were the ones I noticed. Cotton was not at practice, but I saw him in the IAC before practice. It was good to see Stinson, as last year it was believed that he would never play again. Still no telling if he will, but he is doing all he can to get back on the field.
- Antonio Brown was at practice. I spoke with him for a moment and he will be taking part in CMU's Pro Day next week and he believes he is a lock to be a 3rd round pick in the draft with hopes of moving into the second round.
- While I won't get into great specifics, the offense did take a lot of snaps under center, but also mixed in shotgun formations. Most of the looks had three receiver sets and mixed in two back or one back and one tight end features.
- Ryan Radcliff took all the first team snaps and was joined by the receiving trio of Kito Poblah, Cody Wilson, and Matt Torres. Carl Volny and Zurlon Tipton took most of the snaps at running back, while Tyler Reed was also featured at fullback.
- The defense was pretty much what was expected. Nick Bellore, Matt Berning, and Armond Staten made up the starting linebackers while Lorenzo White Jr. and Vince Agnew were at corner back and Bobby Seay and Dannie Bolden were at safety. The D-Line was mixed up a lot but Sean Murnane, Daniel Jackson, and Caeser Rodriguez got a lot of snaps with the first team.
- I know fans are concerned with the offense and how it will look, but CMU had a lot of different formations and looks and really attacked all areas of the field. The offense looks to be wide open. I do expect Reed and tight end David Blackburn to have an increased role, but CMU is not going to be just a power running team.
- The practice ended with a two minute drill. The first team offense scored on a nice 30+ yard strike from Radcliff to Poblah. The second team failed to score as a Derek Rifenbury pass was knocked down by Chris Reeves on fourth and short.
- Ithaca quarterback Alex Niznak was at the practice and kept a close eye on the work the quarterbacks did all practice.
Overall, the practice was a typical first practice. The look and schedule of the practice was different, but that doesn't mean it was worse in any way. Clearly there is a lot of new language to learn with the new system and until the team gets comfortable with that, it will be hard to determine what the expectations for this team will be.