Posted by 80 Devil on March 04, 21 at 09:08:25:
Thought some of you old timers would like seeing a spring practice post from John B from 16 years ago.
Posted by JohnB. on March 21, 05 at 23:12:15:
The day was absolutely beautiful and there were a lot of fans in attendance. Even though the players were in pads and shells some of the drills were quite intense and it was a very good workout for the team. Because of school scheduling, there were a lot of the players that were not on hand at the start of practice but who arrived during the practice. There were two things that stood out to me....one was the large number of players that were out or limited by injury and the increased size of many of the players. They also looked to be in very good shape for the most part. I will go through the offense and the defense by position however I did pay more attention to certain positions more than others.
QB/WR: I spent only a limited time watching the QBs but in the passing drills each of the QBs looked good and the backs and the receivers did a very good job of catching the ball. Matt M. was supposed to be out for heavy contact but was shagging passes with the rest of them and looked good. The true frosh Kimbrough and Jones are really looking good and are tall and fast. They should be forces this season even though there are many players with more experience ahead of them. I can't recall a time when we have had more talent at WR.
TE: It appears that the TE logjam has mostly disappeared with the moving of both Tyrice Thompson and Kellen Mills to the DE position. Tyrice is really thin but is pretty quick and was trying hard in the drills. Mills is a good athlete and may develop at that position. Currently the TEs are B. Miller, Burgraff, Lewis and Pettis. Each of these players looked very good but I thought that Miller was ahead of the rest and seems to be getting over the knee injury-surgery-rehab situation and was playing with confidence. Tom Miller (Brett's dad) reported that Brett ran a 4.65 electronically timed forty. That would convert to a sub 4.5 hand held time.....his speed is coming back.
RBs: Loren Wade was back at practice and looks to be a little bigger than previous. His arms have filled out a lot. He was not used much but looked good running. R. Hill just ran on the sidelines or was riding the stationary bike. The bad thing is he is still limping a little. Preston Jones was riding another bike next to Randy. Sayas looked good today as did Sauslbury. Saulsbury looks to have gotten a little bigger as well and looks like a ....well a LB! Rudy B. played mostly as a WR but had a few runs. There is a new RB that most of you will remember from his days at Ironwood....Aaron LaFitte who was very fast and looked good. He is a little small but is elusive. There were a couple of walk-ons who's names are not known. Also Cornell C. was there shagging balls for the QBs.
OL: At the start of practice there were only 11 OLmen but there were 16 by the end of practice. They all looked superb with Leo T. continuing to lose weight. Bradis M. is an absolute mountain and Robert G. has changed his body form and looks terrific. Grayling Love has moved to center and Carnahan, Berg, and Pollack played a lot with the first unit. Julius O, Leo and Bradis played a lot as well. Heck even Beau Bandura was doing a good job. One downside....Chaz White is still limping a little but was playing a lot. Brandon Rodd was there but was only doing light walk through work. He said that he feels great and because he hasn't had to play a lot he feels strong and rested. This will be a great group.
Punters: We have two punters that can on occasion just pound the football. Both Woldneck and McDonald are very good punters and I think that one of them will come through with a great season for the Devils. Woldneck kicked one about 75 yards in the air and almost over the fence.
DT: J. Hill looked great but this year he will have a pretty good supporting cast with Q. Darley and Holyfield coming back for their 2nd year. They look to be in a lot better shape and Holyfield appears to have gained some more weight. B. Palmer was working hard but doesnŐt seem to have the speed or the strength that the other players have. Will Kofe is not overly big but he is quick and strong. In drills against the OL he matched up against Love and pushed Love back into the QB. It's a good thing that he got here for spring as he was a little winded near the end of practice. He said that he really likes it here but that he has a long way to go to learn the system. The addition of Shane Jones in the fall will help as well. There are two walk-ons that are looking pretty good. One is T. Merriweather who has be around for two years but is really getting bigger and better and the other is a kid from Calif by the name of Mike Thompson who appears to be about 6'3"-285 and is doing pretty well. Mike T. was here last season so he has been in the program beginning with when the team returned from Tontozona.
DE: Well, I mentioned earlier about the moving of Mills and Thompson to DE. The big man at DE is Kyle C. and talking to his grandfather found out that Kyle broke his personal bench press record by 40 lbs when he lifted 450 lbs last week. Kyle looked very good physically and has held his weight down to the 260 range. David Smith looks to weigh in the 270 range and is beginning to learn what he is supposed to do. Monichino was on him a bit today but he may have a future here. Wes E. does not appear to have gained any weight and still has those chicken legs but he is very fast and will play some this year. Mike Talbot is a little small but was very active in the drills and beat his man on at least two occasions. He will see some playing time as well.
LB: The LBs are really looking good and some have gained a little weight. Beau M. is a solid 260 and can run. I spoke briefly with him and he said that things are going well. He looks to be about 260 but seems very smart and is looking forward to the rest of the spring practices. When you have returnees like Williams, Johnson, Washington, Robinson and Fawley plus the younger reserves then you have a winning group of guys. I don't recall seeing Fawley at practice but it was probably a class conflict.
S: Our safeties really look great and they are BIG. Both Varvel and Barrett were held out of practice but standing nest to them they appeared to be 6"2"+ and 215-220 lbs. Also Z. Catanese is a man and he is very smooth. I do not remember Manny Franklin being there today. Maurice London and Rod Cox played quite a bit today. There were also two walk-ons that played that were not listed in the Player Rosters that were passed out today.
CB: The CBs worked at the far end of the field and were hard to follow but there were not many down there with Coach Carrier. I do not recall seeing Chad Green and OJO was either riding the bike or standing on the sideline. He was not limping when he was walking.....a good sign!
K: I didn't see any of them kicking....sorry.
One other thing.... John Vincent was there at practice and His oldest son (Joey) was there with him. Joey is the starting QB at NMSU and if he continues to be the starter will face ASU two years from now. There were a number of other former Hamilton Husky players watching practice as well. Well that's about all that I know for now.
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