I was only there for the last hour, so missed any of the guys that worked out in the first half and the special teams work. Here are a few quick notes from the 2nd half guys:
Intensity: The guys were really working hard today and had a great intensity to the practice. Still not in full pads, but most of the guys had the shells on so there was a bit more contact. A lot of "playful" solid shots. Especially some good shoving along the lines. Little scuffle broke out at one point between Larimore and Baca, nothing serious and it was broken up quickly. But I love that Randall Carroll (not exactly one of the big boys) came flying in and got right in one of the D-Lineman's face. You like to see that kind of fight out of a receiver. (as long as it doesn't end up with one of the player's faces getting broken, we'll leave that to the guys across town)
Ricky Marvay - had a great practice. He was making some very nice plays left and right. Made some beautiful moves during one-on-one drills with the defensive backs, including one where he made a nice move to the inside before turning on the jets and blowing by him to the outside for a touchdown. And he was doing it consistently, all afternoon he was running great routes and making great catches. This kid is going to see time this year and be a play maker on offense.
Malcolm Jones - another guy I will be amazed if he does not see quality playing time this year. He also had a great practice. Good lateral movement, great job hitting the holes, and showing a bit of speed too. He definitely had the play of the day with a nice 40 yard touchdown run which drew a good amount of applause from the onlookers. The running backs seem to be having a lot of rotation between the 1st and 2nd string. On Monday Franklin and James worked with the 1's in the first session and Coleman and Jones were with the 2's in the second. On Tuesday, Coleman and Jones in the first, Franklin and James in the 2nd. Today it was Coleman and James in the 1st, Franklin and Jones with the 2nd. And today, Jones definitely looked better than Franklin. Not that Jet Ski even had a bad practice, he had a few nice runs, but Jones was the real play maker. I would not be the least bit surprised if he is seeing quite a bit of the field even in the opener with K-State.
Morrell Presley - This kid just needs to get consistent. He was being used today out of the F-back and split end positions. He had a few really nice catches, especially a sideline grab where he did a nice job keeping his feet in. But then at other times he's dropping passes or reading a long ball poorly and slowing up and missing the ball by a foot or so.
Size - While talking about Pressley, there was one formation today I loved. Fauria (6'7) and Harkey (6'5) were lined up at tight end, Pressley (6'4) and Jerry Johnson (6'4) were lined up outside and Barr (6'5) was lined up at tailback. I would love to see a defense try to account for that much size (and athleticism). We're going to be able to create some real mismatches this year.
Jerry Rice Jr. - Had a really good practice. He runs his routes extremely well and was doing a great job getting seperation from the dbs during the one-on-one cover drills. He also made a couple of great grabs during the scrimmage at the end, including staying with a play and grabbing a pass that had been aimed at Carroll and deflected by the db.
Cassius Marsh - Made a couple of great plays, and was consistently doing a great job filling holes and getting into the back field. Sure it was against the 2nd string of, our much maligned, O-line, but it was still great to see from the freshman.
Excitement - Watching our 2nd string and younger guys is so much more exciting than it has been in years past. I remember at this point last year, the 2nd string would come out and, other than wanting to see what a few of the frosh (Pressley, Carroll, etc.) could do, there was nothing to get excited about watching that unit. This year is completely different and speaks really highly of the depth that CRN and his staff has recruited and built. Especially at the skill positions, there is some really exciting talent even on the 2nd and 3rd strings.
Academic Issues - I also had a chance to talk with someone affiliated with the team. I told him I would probably be posting a write-up and he asked to remain anonymous, so I'm obviously going to respect that. But we did talk a little bit about the issues facing Anthony Jefferson and Jeff Baca. Jefferson has not yet been cleared by the NCAA, but it sounds like it is basically a paperwork issue and the team hopes to get it cleared quickly. With Baca, apparently he dropped a class in the spring that he was not doing well in. It left him short on units for the year. The team was aware of the issue and he loaded up on classes for the first summer session to bring his progress back up. It still required an appeal to the NCAA though, but the team is hopeful that he should prevail.
I'm hoping to make it to practice again on, possible, Friday and the weekend. Go Bruins!