CMU Spring Practice Notes: Saturday
Here are a few notes from the practice:
-Add Jake Olson to those not practicing because of injuries. He didn't practice on Thursday either, but I couldn't identify him among the players because he didn't have a number on. Linebacker Kyle Zelinsky is also among the injured that are wearing red during the spring.
-With Olson out, Rocky Weaver and Eric Fisher are at the tackle spots with the first team with Darren Keyton and Matt Kanitz at the guards and Colin Miller at center.
-Paris Cotton was back at practice today and getting reps mixed in with the other backs. Volny and Tipton still seem to be getting the most looks though.
-Taylor Bradley is back with CMU and practicing, he has been practicing at wide receiver though, where he originally started. He was getting a lot of deep ball throws and he may be the guy CMU turns to the go down field in the passing game. Bradley showed a lot of promise as a receiver his freshman year, so this could be a nice move back for him.
-Vince Agnew had a couple of nice plays during 11-on-11 drills. He batted away a couple of passes and had a near pick-six that he dropped.
-Redshirt freshman Shamari Benton is getting a lot of reps with the second team defense at linebacker. He is playing the hybrid/nickel back spot that Tim Brazzel played most of last season. I was impressed with his play during practice and also how much weight he has put on since the fall. Benton was a kid that I wasn't sure was going to be able to make it through his first season early on, but now he looks to be doing well and in position to see the field this year.
-In the quarterback competition, Ryan Radcliff clearly looks to be the best option. He has the strongest arm and seems to make the best reads. Derek Rifenbury struggled with taking snaps, as he fumbled the snap twice. A.J. Westendorp has a nice arm and throws a pretty ball, but his delivery is very different and I think it leads to him telegraphing his throws. His delivery takes more time and it keys the secondary in to where the ball is going. He had a number of passes broken up for that reason today in my opinion.
-The funniest moment of the practice was during field goal practice and one of the kickers swore after missing an attempt. Dan Enos grabbed the kid and said "Hey, we don't talk like that here. My kids are here. We have recruits here. We don't talk like that." Given the previous regime and the language they used, that is quite a difference in practice procedure.
-Dan LeFevour and Antonio Brown were at practice today. I got a chance to talk with LeFevour for a minute and he sounds optimistic about how his draft prep is going. He has some personal workouts lined up in the coming weeks and his pro day should be highly attended by NFL scouts. He felt the key to his pro day will be his arm strength and mechanics, as he has made some slight corrections to his throwing motion. Allen Ollenburger will be his center during the workouts. LeFevour added that he would like to go to a team where he has a chance to play early in his career, but also has a veteran on the squad that can help mentor him and bring him along.
-I spoke with Radcliff following practice and will have a story on him in Sunday's paper. I also spoke with QB Coach Jay Johnson about the quarterbacks.
CMU holds another practice Tuesday, I will pass on some more notes then.