Obviously it was great for the staff to get the players "live" on Friday and being able to see who can get somebody on the ground in the open field through the various combative drills.
It was a chance to see and evaluate the players reactions at full speed. And it will heat up again today (Saturday) as the Black Knights take the field for their 2nd practice in full pads.
That staff will know even more after today's practice, as the they will start getting some guys more reps and being able to make some personnel decisions as they move forward into next week.
So by next week, the team has approximately three weeks from kickoff. So the staff has to find out who they have to get game ready.
This is five days into summer training camp, with one day of full pads and today will be day two. This is the time that the coaching staff to find out athletically who can do it. From that point, those will be the players who at least initially out of the gate that Ellerson and his staff have to coach them up and get them ready to play.
There are a lot of good veterans on board that have played some games, as demonstrated in their 2010 performance and spring ball.
On the freshmen side, there is such a limited window that the staff must heat them up a little, that will allow the staff to find out exactly who they need to get ready to get on that bus and plane for Northern Illinois.
As far as understanding the concepts, both Thomas Holloway and Tyler Dickson are picking things up well.
Holloway is a sharp player, and Dickson is a tremendous athlete. Of course today's practice with pads on now allowed the coaches to get a better feel as they had a chance today to take part in some open field tackling drills.
These two will probably compete down to the end and it is clear they push one another.
Addison Holstein, is a solid athlete, and like most freshmen, there's always the perception that they are drinking out of a firehose as they continue to work hard to pick up the various concepts.
Strong Safety (SAM)
Lyle Beloney and Reggie Nesbit, and both are playing well. But surely just looking at the each player, one can see the physical difference between the two. Reggie is a little bigger and rangier. Boloney has grown athletically over teh past six months.
Clearly the test for both is when the pads are on and things are coming at them at full speed.
Obviously this role is solid with Steve Erzinger there, but Justin Trimble is playing well and will force the staff to make some decisions in terms of finding him some reps.
Nate Combs is playing well and showing no signs of his 2010 injury. "Nate is just a football player and he's good athletically ... he has a nose for the ball, he understands the game, understands what we are trying to do defensively. He and Erzinger communicate together well and play together well," shares Rover coach, John Brock.
Freshman Mike Cermak has had a pretty good camp thus far at the Mike position and another player that may be tough to keep off the field is fellow prepster, Geoffrey Bacon. Once he picks up the system, Bacon, who is very very athletic is another impressive freshmen.
In addition to the aforementioned young talent, here are few others that have caught our attention.
Freshman and former prepster Hayden Pierce has looked good thus far. The challenge for staff as it is with Bacon ... where do they play. Pierce will be tested at linebacker and/or safety.
Then there are players like Marques Avery, Marcus Jackson and LJ Harris. These guys have shown their athletic ability earlier on, especially in some of the one on one drills.
Also making some early noise is direct admit, Addison Holstein. Another direct admit is Duran Workman, who played safety in high school, but is not getting looks at linebacker.
Right now, the offense has been tremendous and awesome to see.
Offensively, there is no question that frosh wide receiver Chevaughn Lawrence could be a special player for the Black & Gold. Or as some coaches have said ... "he's a different cat." He already has nice size (200 pounds), but he's explosive and the staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field.
On the youthful defense
"Everyone is saying we are a young defense but we'll be in one on one and team practice ....they have a couple of freshmen up with the two squads and I will see flashes of excellence. Where I can say, that's teh way you do it. We have Quick (DE) named Drodz (Jacob), he's coming up taking that two spot and handling it nicely."
"It's been like a water-hose in his mouth where he is just trying to take in everything ... all the drills. I try to tell him to slow down and get this step right ... get this technique right."
"He asked me the other day about some pass rush fundamentals. I will give him my opinion, but I told I would send him to the more experience people like Coach Mumford or Josh (McNary), who is up here as a strength GA."
On the switch from defensive tackle to end
"I love it. I don't get as much of the contact, meaning I don't play around with guards and tackles as much, but I still get my fair amount contact with the ends. But also deal with the tackles every now and then. It's less contact and I can use more of my athletic ability ... like speed and quickness compared to like brut strength."
Playing next to A.J. (brothers)
"It's great man ... as you know we have another set of brothers, we have Zach and Corey Watts. One day we were running through practice and coach put all of us there as starting front. So you had two sets of brothers. A.J. and I on the left side and Corey and Zach on the right side."
On the first day of full pads
"Yes, it was full pads, but it's still football nonetheless. The biggest difference is the speed of the game, how everything is coming ... everything is coming a little bit faster."
"But also learning my assignments. It's been a learning experience more than anything. I came in expecting to learn and I'm learning from the upperclassmen as well as my coaches."
On his biggest adjustment
"For me, it's been the mental side of the game. In high school, I didn't really make a lot of mistake and everything came easy. At the college game, everything is detailed. Coach Waugh wants certain things to be done and Coach Ellerson wants certain things to be done."
On getting reps
"I'm lining up as an "A" back right now. I have been running with Max Jenkins mostly and I got a little bit with Trent, a little bit Angel, but mostly Max."
"I'm running with Dan McGue and sometimes Larry Dixon has been with me and at the other slot it has been Brian Austin."
Currently, Turrentine is weighing in at a hefty 209 pounds.
Practice kicks off tomorrow at 2:30pm today.
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