I promise Paul will eventually post the photo gallery (last I spoke to him (last night) he was trying to decide how to post thumbnails in the most aesthetically pleasing manner possible). Depth charts have been updated with the new information from spring practice (click the “important posts” tab on the right).
Some analysis, most of it from the scrimmage:
QB: Henne looked pretty good, though he obviously wasn’t giving 100% effort the whole time. His throws to the left (a point of struggling in the past) looked much more accurate. Tacopants was nowhere to be found. Mallett looked very good (see Paul’s video extravaganza below), and certainly appears to be ready to step in as the quarterback of the future. He didn’t have any trouble handling snaps from under center, and there were no shotgun snaps taken. Cone looked like career backup material (which shouldn’t be surprising, because he was recruited as such, and came in knowing the situation). Walk-on Nick Sheridan looked good, but will obviously never play a down.
OL: The run game struggled most of the day, but this was also without a few starters playing, and with a mix-and-match assortment of lineups. The starting line will almost assuredly be Long-Kraus-Boren-Mitchell-?, with ? representing the best of Dorrestein, Schilling, and Zirbel. Boren and Moosman both looked good snapping.
TE: Sucky. Martell Webb and Steve Watson had better be able to come in and play, and Mike Massey should have crafted himself (shoulder especially) out of a material other than glass. Criswell could block for the run and pass pretty well, but couldn’t catch a pass to save his life. McLaurin could do neither.
RB: Minor only played 2 downs in the scrimmage, thrown to twice. No news there, though he certainly looked like an imposing physical specimen. The FBs carried the load in the scrimmage, and looked like FBs doing so. The surprise of the spring was RS Freshman Mark Moundros, a preferred walk-on who has the smart money for being the starter come fall. Vince Helmuth has a little more developing to do, but he looked like a future badass.
WR: Walkon central, as Greg Mathews and LaTerryal Savoy were the only scholarship WRs there. Manningham was in attendance wearing street clothes, and Arrington was not present. Judging by the fact that there are only 2 scholarship WRs right now, hopefully both can come back and contribute. There will definitely be playing time opportunities for multiple freshmen here, as well. Mathews looked good, though he’s definitely not a burner (overthrown a couple time by both Mallett and Henne – on passes Manningham would have easily run under). Unlike last year, Savoy looked like crap, so I hope he just confuses “final spring practice” with “opposite day.” Walk-on David Middleton looked decent, though there’s a reason he’s a walk-on.
DL: A ton of guys played here. Brandon Graham looked good, even if his step isn’t as fast as I was expecting from a former LB. Will Johnson looked really fast off the line for his size, which is good. Adam Patterson was solid if unimpressive. Jason Kates looked to be in terrible condition. There is more depth on the DL than I was expecting, which can only be a good thing.
LB: If the season started today, I’d have to think your starting LB lineup would be (weak to strong) Mouton-Ezeh-Crable. Johnny Thompson and Chris Graham both didn’t practice, but Mouton and Ezeh looked good. Mouton especially, as he was the best LB on the field, in terms of speed and big hits. Crable did not scrimmage. Austin Panter was OK, but he got run over in the run game a couple of times. He needs to work on his lower body strength a lot in the off-season if he wants to be a big contributor in the fall.
DB: Stevie Brown is really good at the football. Johnny Sears looked bad, which can’t be a good thing. It’s not even that he didn’t have the skills and mental abilities, it just seemed like he wasn’t even playing attention during the scrimmage. Hopefully it was just a bad practice for him. Brandon Harrison was as expected, Charles Stewart looked like a good backup SS, as did (surprisingly) career special-teamer Anton Campbell. Morgan Trent was beaten more times than I am comfortable with at this time.
ST: Punting will still be handled by Zoltan. He boomed a couple but was inconsistent (I probably could have said that without even attending the practice). The Place kicker battle will be between K.C. Lopata and Bryan Wright. Wright has the bigger leg, but was more inconsistent. Lopata was more accurate, but dinged an extra point of the back of an O-Lineman’s helmet. This one will be settled in the fall, and don’t be surprised if they split duties a bit during the season.
Posted under Personnel, Spring Coverage