"king of the jungle day"

it is a sad day today, and let me say congratulations to the memphis tigers. as we have said, this season was an incredible success, and i'm looking forward to seeing us reload and come back for more in the coming years...

that said, on to football. i started this at halftime since i cant even see the tv with 20 ppl at my friends apt, and so im gonna finish it up now post game....

didn't see the whole practice...showed up a little bit after the stretches and boned out during the 11 on 11s...while i LOVE ucla football, and love football as a sport more than basketball, today was not the day to be an idiot...had to leave at 2:45 to make sure i made it to a TV for tip-off.

1) first drill i saw after seeing 2 min. of position drills was a one on one battle on the line with a QB and a RB, so for example, first off it was micah reed (the center) blocking brigham harwell. let me tell you from playing a bit of defense (in flag football but still) that one on one drills after EXTREMELY difficult...for one, the lineman knows which way the ball carrier is going and the defender does not...there were groups: 1) linemen v. linemen, TEs and FBs vs. LBs, and then WRs against DBs. C Reed blocked DT Harwell nicely, FB Trevor Theriot OWNED OLB John Hale and then got the offense all fired up with some emotion after his block, and then believe it or not, WR Terrance Austin, who looked terrific in this drill, pushed CB ATV off the ball...

i like the idea of this drill for the offense (who won probably 80% of the rest of the snaps), especially since we're struggling on the OL right now. this is a great way to build the confidence of our lineman with this drill. that being said, the guys who were impressive in this drill were FB Theriot (31) who was pushing LBs all over the place, MLB Reggie Carter (51) who stopped the ball carrier EVERY time, (and remember, this is an offense advantaged drill), WR Austin (4) like i mentioned, and RS Fr. CB Courtney Viney (7) who was doing a nice job getting off the block. (uniform numbers are in parentheses)

2) then we got to see some 11 on 11 for just 4 series, mostly focusing on running plays and mixing in play action to keep the defense honest. and here's my snap by snap notes:

a) Olson against the first string D

  1. Chane Moline breaks a 25 yd run, followed by a mini skirmish at the end of the doubt some yapping going on, and the defense frustrated by the nice blocking.
  2. RB Ramirez, 4 yd. gain off tackle, then POPPED by MLB R.Carter.
b) Cowan against the 1s
  1. Moline 3 yd gain up the middle, tackle by DT Harwell
  2. Fumbled Snap, causing OL Coach Bob Palcic to blow a gasket...
c) Craft against the 2s
  1. Moline -2 yd loss (nice stop by MLB Sloan) followed by a skirmish. RN let the first skirmish go, but dropped out of CEO mode to give the team and earful on clean play and immediately make all 22 players on the field do 10 up the coaching
  2. Broken play, Craft touched for sack by DT Siewerzki
  3. Ramirez 3 yd gain (sloan on the tackle)
  4. David Martini? 5 yd gain
d) Olson against the 1s again
  1. PA low throw incomplete, ATV good coverage
  2. Ramirez 5 yd counter (LB Bosworth)
  3. Moline 5 yd gain off tackle
  4. PA Olson overthrows WR Taylor Embree by a mile
  5. Moline no gain (DE Boz)
the defense looked great except for the 25 yd gain on the first play...absolutely nothing on the play action. gotta put some of that on the OL, but the RBs were gaining a few yards here and there...not too bad on run blocking.

3) Punt coverage time and more of ST Coach Ganz.

John Hale called the wrong snap count on the first attempt and Ganz went crazy and pulled Hale out. After that, his attention to detail, giving the punt coverage team one by one instructions for what they do on the snap, block, and then coverage. TREMENDOUS! Ganz then told the punt team that they needed to line up correctly, pay attention to detail and focus, or all of them would have zero oxygen in their body at the end of practice. he had the punt team do all situations, regular punt formation, max protection, from the 2 yd line (short snap), and from both hashes. we will not be unprepared on special teams this year.

during this time, the QBs were working on footwork with Chow, and RN was in full-scale CEO mode talking to some parents of recruits on the sideline. (i wish i can tell you who the recruits were...there were a lot of them there, but i cant see faces from lot 6)

4) 7 on 7s, so basically offense v. defense without the linemen.

here we go, bear in mind the QBs were alternating plays and personnel to boost the tempo (remember, we're playing FAST and practicing FAST...tempo was definitely up)

1st string D:

1)Cowan, coverage's spring ball. make a throw! dont run it for 2 yds...that was a theme with cowan during the entire day. it worries me.

  1. Olson, drop by TE Paulsen. big surprise.
  2. Cowan, 7 yd completion to TE Moya, crossing route. i LOVE this play design by Chow.
  3. Olson underthrows receiver.
  4. Cowan, 12 yd completion to TE Moya (thank God Moya's back!)
  5. Olson 8 yd gain to FB Theriot on the RB Angle, slant out then back in. *to me, this means that FB Theriot really knows the playbook, since usually the RB angle is run for the tailback, but maybe we're gonna run it with the FB this year.
  6. Cowan, bad pass. he was noticeably frustrated with the route that the receiver ran, and this led RN to pull Cowan aside for a bit.
  7. Olson, nice post pattern to WR Turner for 15 yds.
  8. Cowan good throw, WR Ketchum drops the 12 yd out
during this time, TE Nate Chandler was working with the linemen on blocking drills. i sure don't think he's ready for prime time yet...
  1. Olson 2 yd dump off to RB Ramirez. good coverage
  2. Cowan fake run, then tries to throw on the run and misses badly. DONT RUN IN 7 ON 7S!!! this is the time to make mistakes...
  3. Olson 5 yd completion to TE Chandler.
2s now, and exculsively QB Craft...
  1. Craft 4 yd pass to Paulsen (curl)
  2. Craft 4 yd pass to Graves (curl)
  3. Craft 16 yd completion to Ketchum (not a great throw though, nice catch by Ketchum)
  4. Craft overthrows Everett on the deep ball
back to the 1s on D, and 2 quick series with OR and CForce
  1. OR no throw...surprise surprise
  2. OR 5 yd pass to TE Chandler
  3. OR 2 yd pass to WR Graves, missed tackle, runs for TD (not sure if they were going full bore on tackling though since its 7 on 7)
  4. False Start
  5. OR overthrows WR
  1. Forcier 12 yd completion to TE Travis Martin, nice scramble and throw on the run.
  2. Forcier 10 yd completion to WR Embree on a curl
  3. Forcier overthrows WR
i would say this for the 7 on 7s...Cowan and Olson did not make quick decisions. I trust that Chow will work with them, and RN pulling Cowan aside says a lot about his willingness to bring him along right now. Remember, it's day 3 of a new offense. Craft, however, would have his mind made up and make a quick throw. The first 2 plays, his receiver was open. I don't know if this means he knows Chow's offense better than Cowan and Olson, but he made quicker decisions. Olson showed the same old indecisiveness in the pocket, and i still don't understand why Cowan tries to run in 7 on 7s. 7 on 7s, if i'm not mistaken, are made for passing drills mostly. this shows that Craft made quicker decisions than the other two...

anyways, i stayed for a bit of 11 on 11 as well... here's the notes:

1) Olson with the 1s.

a) Bubble Screen to Moya, high throw by Olson, 1 yd. (nice tackle by Lockett)
b) Ramirez for no gain POPPED by MLB Carter (Carter was ballin' today)
* Reminder that Sean Sheller was playing Tackle with Aleksey Lanis slightly banged up. I'm sure N had notes on this earlier...
c) Moline 2 yd loss off tackle, Tom Blake beats Micah Kia and makes the tackle
d) Olson throws wide of TE Moya on the curl...incomplete

2) Craft with the 2s

a) 4 yd completion to RB Ramirez
b) Sack...the entire DL was in the backfield. our 2s on the OL are not very solid...
c) Sheppard 1 yd run up the middle (Nice hit by Sloan, tackle broken, CB Meadows cleans up)
d) Martini 3 yd loss. (stop by DE D.Carter)

3) Cowan with the 1s

a) Bubble Screen to Everett for 3 yds. Nice move on Everett to juke Lockett, but then trips.
b) Cowan 10 yd Play Action Bootleg pass to FB Theriot for 10 yds.
c) Fumbled Snap
d) Moline 6 yd gain off tackle, nice block by Sheller. (tackle by DE Boz)
e) Cowan sacked.

Let's sum things up today:

1) Impressive players today, in order of my observations:

a) MLB Carter
b) FB Theriot
c) WR Austin
d) MLB Sloan (was very active)
e) CB Viney (also active)

  1. Of the QB Situation, it's going to take time. in terms of making reads, i would say Craft is the best, but i worry about the experience factor, something that Olson and Cowan have more of at the D-I level. but again, it's gonna take time. but in  order of the reps, it's olson first always, and then cowan. i think i would honestly rather see cowan at this point, but i really don't know. i'll trust chow's judgment.
  2. i liked the tempo, and again, the attention to detail, especially during the special team drills. RN has assembled a solid staff and these guys know what theyre doing.
it's a sad day today. thanks to our basketball players for a memorable season. LMR, we wish you well and thanks for 4 years of a job well done. we'll be back next year.

i got class on monday and tuesday....can probably swing by on thursday.


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