Friday, August 5, 2011

Practice Notes from Opening Day

Got a chance to watch today’s CMU football practice, the first of the 2011 fall college football season.
Here are some news and notes on the Chippewas:

- CMU started the day pretty injury free. Just four players were in red jerseys (no contact). They were DE Kashawn Fraser, FB Adam Fenton, WR Courtney Williams, and another unknown freshman (he never put his helmet on to identify his number). The team did have a few minor injuries take place during the practice, but nothing that looked serious.
- In terms of size and shape, Ryan Radcliff has lost some weight according to Dan Enos. He said Radcliff lost about 15 pounds over the summer and trimmed up. It looks like A.J. Westendorp added that 15 pounds. He is really a big kid from a muscular aspect. He looks like he has shoulder pads on without actually wearing them.
- The first team offense had Radcliff at QB, Zurlon Tipton and Paris Cotton trading at RB, Cody Wilson and Jerry Harris at WR, David Blackburn at TE, and an offensive line of Eric Fisher (LT), Jake Olson (LG), Darren Keyton (C), Rocky Weaver (RG), and Mike Repovz (RT). I am a little surprised that Repovz gets the nod at RT over Weaver, but the coaches must feel this is the best five for them. Overall, a pretty solid starting five.
- The second team offense was Fricke and Westendorp at QB, Tim Phillips and Austin White at RB, Cedric Fraser Jonathan Taylor and Deon Butler all getting snaps at WR, Caleb Southworth at TE, and an offensive line of Kevin Henry (LT), Aaron McCord (LG), Andy Phillips (C), Cody Pettit (RG), and Jeff Fantuzzi (RT).
- The first team defense was a defensive line of Joe Kinville (DE), John Williams (DT), Steve Winson (DT), and Darryll Stinson (DE). The linebackers were Armond Staten, Mike Petrucci, and Shamari Benton. Lorenzo White and Derek Carter were taking the snaps at CB and Jahleel Addae and John Carr played safety.
- The second team defense was a line of Kenny McClendon (DE), Matt Losiniecki (DT), Chris Reeves (DT), and Jason Chomic (DE). Linebackers were Jake Bentley, Mike Kinville, and Alex Smith. Kevin King and true freshman Josh Carter played CB, and Avery Cunningham and Leron Eaddy were at safety.
- For the D-Line, Leterrius Walton and Caesar Rodriguez were in the mix as well, but apparently Walton didn’t test out well in his conditioning drills, so he may have to work his way up. Freshman Shafer Johnson is a big kid at 322 pounds. Enos said he actually came into the summer at 340 pounds.
- Jason Johnson, a redshirt sophomore from Durand, appears to have moved to LB from Safety.
- Austin White was at practice and looked as good as he did in the spring. Apparently the rumors of his departure were untrue.
- In terms of observations, I thought that Westendorp looked really good. He has altered his delivery and it looks a lot smoother. He had some nice throws and shows a lot of athleticism. He is often compared to Brian Brunner because of his attitude and demeanor and I can see that. I feel like he is one of those guys that will find a way to make a play any way he has to. If you need one yard on one key play, he is probably the guy you would want with the ball.
- Radcliff didn’t look too bad. He still has good zip and his accuracy looked better. Still waiting to see some leadership traits come out of him though.
- Alex Niznak had some nice moments, but also made some classic freshman mistakes. He was intercepted by Petrucci during scrimmage drills on a play where he looked to be in over his head a little. He did make some nice deep throws though and seemed to have some good chemistry with true freshman WR, Dennis Nalor.
- Brandon Fricke was hard to read. He didn’t do anything that stood out, good or bad. A lot of the individual drills, he was not with the QB’s and was running scout offense. It was odd to see, but I still expect he and Westendorp to back up Radcliff this season.
- Without pads on, it is hard to know how the players will really pan out. I think this team has some impressive looking freshmen, but they have to hold up physically. Enos hinted that some freshmen will probably have to play on the D-Line and at CB.
- Enos was pretty fired up at the team following practice. He felt their effort was not where it should be and that the team needed to lock in and realize that summer is over. He showed a lot of energy and emotion during the talk.

I will have some more news and notes tomorrow, but that is all for today. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @ellisdrew for updates during tomorrow’s practice

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drew,

Nice post keep up the good work for those of us in SE. Mich.

August 5, 2011 at 6:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Drew. Long ways from the action here in SC!

August 5, 2011 at 7:59 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Drew, we follow you across the country, keep up the great inside work with Central Michigan football.

August 5, 2011 at 9:03 PM 

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