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Practice (March 25) observations

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Practice (March 25) observations

Postby PonyPride » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:18 am

Some notes from Monday's practice:

DE Shabazz Dotson and LB Myles Duke remained out. S Rodney Clemons, who got a day off last week, was back, albeit in a green ("limited") jersey.
• Recruited as an ILB, Noah Spears was working pass rushing drills with his hand down. Not sure if he's being moved full-time to DE, but it definitely was a different look.
• One of the best battles during the pass rush drills was between DE Tyeson Neals and OT Jaylon Thomas. Neither was a clear-cut winner — on a few plays, Thomas was able to get his mitts on Neals and effective end the play; on others, the veteran Neals was able to cross up Thomas and get his feet tangled as Neals got past him.
• Inconsistent day in the passing game during team (11 on 11) drills. Not bad — inconsistent. Nobody specific could be pointed at as having a bad day — just inconsistent by both QBs and WRs. For example, WR Reggie Roberson dropped two crossing routes that hit him in the hands. But he also made several impressive catches, on the sideline and downfield, and he showed off the wheels to turn the corner on DBs after a couple of crossing routes.
• Toward the end of practice, the quarterbacks took turns throwing fade routes into a net. Most accurate was Will Brown, followed by Derek Green.
• Former DT Ken McLaurin is working out with the offensive line as a guard. No, the transition is nowhere near complete. But it's clear what the coaches see: a powerful player with a low center of gravity who will be hard to knock off balance. At one point Monday, the Mustangs did a drill in which a full offensive line would go against a full defensive line. One defensive lineman was chosen to "go live" after the quarterback in a one-on-one drill. When the defender used quickness and changed direction, McLaurin looked ... like a defensive lineman learning to play on offense. But when the defender tried to bull-rush McLaurin — one of the Mustangs' strongest players — he was able to set his feet as an anchor and was very difficult to move. How that will translate going forward remains to be seen — he's just beginning the defense-to-offense transition — but his size and strength do translate to the offensive side.
• Speaking of strong players who are able to set their feet and not budge: DT Terrance Newman is doing a nice job plugging the middle. During Monday's team drills, he didn't collapse the pocket ... but he also didn't get pushed back, even when double-teamed. He looks like one of those interior linemen who could evolve into a space eater, able to tie up blocks so linebackers can run to the ball.
• One player who clearly heard head coach Sonny Dykes' comment about wanting the team to get bigger and stronger is DE Gary Wiley, who is considerably thicker than the 225 pounds at which he was listed last season, but appears to have maintained, if not increased, his quickness. At one point, he just about corkscrewed a blocker into the ground by starting upfield to the outside, hitting the brakes and then crossing over to pursue the quarterback up the middle. That was one of several moves he made Monday that made him look like a more polished pass rusher than he was as a true freshman last year.
Hayden Howerton got first-team reps at center, but Alan Ali also got some reps, as did OL Charlie Flores, a 6-4, 300-pound transfer from Columbia, where he missed two of his five seasons because of knee injuries.
• Redshirt freshman Warren Scott punted in drills, and uncorked in the 45-yard range while teammates raced downfield underneath in coverage.
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