A slow practice today, but a few things worth mentioning. They are as follows:
- As you guys heard via some tweets, there was smoke coming from the roof of Autzen today. I thought it was pretty clearly just black exhaust fumes; meanwhile about four firetrucks rolled by. It was stopped pretty soon after.
- Costa, Thomas, and Bennett all had their moments today. It was a pretty unspectacular day for the QBs. Costa had a bad read or two but his passing was pretty alright. Thomas was picked twice consecutively on balls that went into Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams' hands and bounced up in the air. Just goes to show: don't just read too much into Joe Twitter's tweets that say "THOMAS PICKED TWICE IN A ROW WHAT THE HELL I THOUGHT HE WAS DENNIS DIXON."
- Bennett consistently had the most yardage off zone reads of any of the quarterbacks. He's very quick to accelerate off the keep and take it around the end. Costa had a few keepers for less than 5 yards before being whistled down by near-contact. I'm curious to see if Costa will be able to encounter tacklers and push forward for a yard or two more on his keeps. He looks to have the body for it.
- James, Barner, Alston, and Huff all were suited up and without red jerseys to start practice. Barner didn't have a cast on but appeared to have his hand and wrist taped. Not sure if it was for the aesthetics or functionality. Huff eventually tweaked his ankle again and wore an ice-wrap on his ankle for the majority of practice. During the last few periods of practice he took the ice-pack off and just walked around with a red jersey on.
- Lache Seastrunk looked really fast today. Seastrunk certainly has the speed and the moves to be an awesome player. He did have a few playbook and formation issues, again. Had to be directed for a good five or six seconds before one play where to stand behind Thomas. Both Thomas and Barner had to help him find his place. On one play where Thomas had to improvise during 11-on-11 he found Seastrunk in the flat with the entire defensive backfield and linebackers heading downhill towards him. The first to challenge him was Michael Clay, who Seastrunk put upon the most filthy juke I've ever seen, leaving him and the rest of the D behind as he got a good ten yards downfield. I've never seen a player cornered so severely only to throw them all away with a juke move.
- Our kicking situation worries me. Both Maldonado and Beard seem to miss more often than they make. Maldonado sometimes looks really solid, then his next kick he'll absolutely shank. Beard certainly has the stronger leg and, unless something drastically changes, will probably be our starter after he sits the New Mexico game.
- Maldonado is our second-string punter as well, apparently. And the coaches really aren't digging that. After one particularly poor punt (straight into a pretty tough wind, I wouldn't blame him) special teams coach Tom Osborne shouted to Jackson Rice, who was warming up in the sideline, "Jackson! Get in here! We need a real [expletive]ing punter!" Gotta feel for Maldonado. The guy's trying.
- I'd say the defense won the day today. The cornerbacks in particular were looking at times very spry. Cliff Harris was with the second (!) team today on defense and had a few nice swats, along with a few other players that I couldn't quite see the numbers of. Encouraging to see our young corners doing well.
- Chris Dudley was at practice today. He's tall.
It was a good day hanging with runfast, talking about football and Sun Chips and The Offspring. Hope to see some of you down there next week! I probably won't be there tomorrow so expect a recap from one of our other young writers.