No practice report today, but Paul managed to come through with the audio from Coach Rodriguez's press conference.
- Vlad Emilien came back to practice recently, and he's full-go.
- Kevin Koger missed a couple practices last week, but he returned to practice today.
- Quinton Washington was able to scrimmage a little Saturday.
- JR Hemingway practiced with limited contact today, as did Je'Ron Stokes.
- Renaldo Sagesse has been out for a couple weeks. They've moved some other guys to interior DL to help account for him and Mike Martin both being out.
- David Molk is running, and taking part in some of the non-contact drills. He should be ready to go for summer workouts. He's ahead of schedule with his rehab.
Spring Game and More
- The Spring Game is a real scrimmage, and hopefully a nice crowd will turn out and make the young guys nervous to get it out of their systems. The previous scrimmages were at least as important to the players for learning, however.
- This time, guys are going to have to correct mistakes on their own instead of relying on the coaches to help them after each play.
- Some of the proven guys coming off injuries will be held out a bit on Saturday. They'll only play a few series. There will be a game-like environment for everyone who's healthy. There are too many injuries to play a full game, but they should be able to do it in the future.
More after the jump.
- Quarterbacks: There are definitely two quarterbacks on the roster (Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier) that the coaches are confident they can win with. Devin Gardner is also improving at a rapid rate. He's getting there, but the Spring Game will be a good indicator of how far he's come. There won't be a definitive quarterback depth chart until the end of fall camp. The coaches are hoping to have all three ready to go.
- Last year, Denard was learning the offense, and now that's he's been in for a spring practice, he's much more comfortable with the whole playbook. There's a lot more learning for him to do, however. His pump fake on the last play of the scrimmage on Saturday, is a play that doesn't work that frequently. He needs to remember to get North and South when he runs to gain yards. The QBs still need to know they're allowed to make guys miss.
- The running backs have been back-and-forth as to who performs the best on any given day. Fitzgerald Toussaint has been coming on of late, Mike Shaw has had a good spring, and the coaches have highexpectations for both him and Mike Cox. Freshman Stephen Hopkins is impressing, and he probably won't redshirt in the fall. They'll need a bigger back in the fall, and he could get those minutes.
- On the offensive line, Rocko Khoury, Elliott Mealer, Patrick Omameh, and Ricky Barnum are growing in strength and confidence, which bodes well for the future. The coaches are getting closer to having eight guys they're comfortable playing on the offensive line, with those four, in addition to the three redshirt freshmen (Taylor Lewan, Michael Schofield, and Quinton Washington) ready to contribute. They should all be on the 2-deep somewhere. With established guys like Perry Dorrestein, Steve Schilling, Mark Huyge, and David Molk, there are plenty of options and they'll have enough guys ready to go for the season.
- Adam Patterson has moved to nose tackle. He's one of the most explosive big guys (won the 40-yard dash for big guys). He'll still play both inside and outside. The coaches are confident in Greg Banks as well. They're hoping to have Will Heininger back from his ACL injury by midseason.
- At middle linebacker, Kenny Demens has been dinged up the past couple days, but has been having a good spring when healthy. Obi Ezeh is having a good spring as well. Mark Moundros should be able to help some at linebacker. He'll play a bit of offense, but he's been working only on defense this spring to learn the position. John McColgan's emergence at fullback has allowed Moundros to be over on D full-time.
- Cameron Gordon has been consistent all spring, but he hasn't played in a game yet. Corner was a concern after Donovan Warren declared early for the NFL draft, but Troy Woolfolk and JT Floyd have played well this spring. Justin Turner and James Rogers are improving. Turner is staying at corner for now. Once he's comfortable there, he could pay safety.
- The defensive secondary will be deeper when freshmen arrive in the fall. They'll be able to play more nickel and dime packages this season, which they didn't have the personnel for last year.
- Brock Mealer (Elliott Mealer's brother) was able to walk 50 yards with just crutches, for the first time since his accident. He will lead the team onto the field against UConn.
- Players and coaches know what to do during spring practices, so this spring practice is running very smoothly. That's helped the staff get more done this spring as opposed to the previous two years.
- The biggest improvement for an individual player comes between their first and second years. Guys who redshirted are going to see that, along with some offensive linemen who are a couple years in.
- Not just Tate, but several young players need to grow not only athletically, but academically and socially during their careers. The coaches often talk to Tate about expectations and how to meet them. There's some tough love involved for those young guys.
- The staff has gotten a few calls about the outgoing seniors from NFL scouts. Zoltan was working with an NFL special teams coordinator today, Brandon Graham is always doing well. Rodriguez expects at least a couple to get drafted, and more of them to make it to NFL training camps. Minor hasn't been able to work out as much as he's like due to his shoulder surgery.