Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Day of Spring Practice

The 2011 Spring Practice session started for the CMU football team on Tuesday morning and I was on hand to check out the action.

In terms of injuries, CMU looked to be pretty healthy. Better than most springs at least. The notable red jerseys were DL Andy Phillips, TE Connor Odykirk, DB Jason Johnson, FB Tyler Lombardo, WR Jeremy Wilson, LB Kyle Zelinsky, OL Mike Repovz, and OL Darren Keyton.

Jake Olson and Rocky Weaver took part in drills but didn't go through contact as Olson is still coming back from his knee injury and Weaver still has a club on his left hand.

In terms of position changes, Valtorrey Showers is moving to defensive back and he looked good during the practice. He caught a fumble that popped out of Austin White's hands and returned it for a score and also had a pass deflection during team head-to-head drills.

When the teams did full scrimmage plays (without pads mind you) the starting offensive line was Eric Fisher, Kevin Henry, Nick Reynolds, Jeff Fantuzzi, and Adam Schneid. Keep in mind that Olson, Weaver, and Keyton were out, and all will likely start.

The running back rotation was Paris Cotton, Zurlon Tipton, and Tim Phillips, who is back from a torn pectoral muscle prior to the start of the 2010 season. White also got a lot of reps and he looks really good with his agility and footwork, but he has to sit out a year, which can be tough.

Receivers were Cody Wilson, Jerry Harris, and Jordan McConnell. Cedric Fraser, Deon Butler, and Jonathan Taylor also got a lot of reps as did Billy Myler in the slot position and Reggie Brown. David Blackburn and Jarrett Fleming handled the tight end duties.

Quarterback rotation was Radcliff, Fricke, Westendorp, Smith, and Niznak. I thought Radcliff did some good things but still struggled with snaps at times. Fricke looked to be the most accurate and Westendorp threw with a lot of zip on the ball. Smith really struggled with accuracy and his ball hangs to long. Niznak did some good things, but is a work in progress. He looks to be thinking and not reacting. He also struggled with snaps at times, but physically, he fits right in with the veterans and is not lacking in size.

On defense, The starting defensive line was Joe Kinville, Steve Winston, John Williams, and Darryll Stinson. Linebackers were Armond Staten, Mike Petrucci, and Shamari Benton. The cornerbacks were Derek Carter and Lorenzo White Jr. while the safeties with Jahleel Addae and John Carr.

Caesar Rodrgiuez, Leterrius Walton, and Kenny McClendon got a lot of reps with the D-Line as well while Avery Cunningham was playing safety behind Addae and Carr.

In terms of kicking, David Harman did the kicking during the two-minute drill and went 1-for-2, missing a short kick where there was a bad snap, and hitting a longer kick to end practice. Cody Wilson was the holder during the kicks.

It is really hard to judge who did well as this was the first practice and there were no pads, but I thought the QB play was mostly good. The QB-center exchange is still a problem though, which is troubling.

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