Sorry about the lateness of this blog post. Ever had one of those days when you couldn't hit the ground with your hat? Repairs, parking, snail-driving gray hairs creeping along 107th Avenue in their Toyota sedans in the Turn Only lane have continued a trend that had me quoting 1930s boxing manager Joe Jacobs ("I shoulda stood in bed") back around the first time a running back got devoured on the handoff today.
Head coach's view: "After four hard days of practice and with the academic obligations we currently have, we cam eout iwth agreat attitude, an incredible amount of enthusiasm and they fought through a lot of plays. We even went extended plays today. We've been going anywhere from four, five, six-play series. Today, we took them on some occasions up to 10, 11, 12 plays. They responded well."
Freshman linebacker Patrick Jean took some first team reps today in team drills as Winston Fraser sat out some time so coaches could get a look at Jean. Jean and Leroy Owens, who seemed to be in on the tackle or around it on 70 percent of the team drill snaps that were 2s vs. 2s, not only have emerged early on the field, but Mario Cristobal sees them being accredited leader status by the other freshmen.
"Again, credit to the older guys like Winston Fraser and Jordan Hunt for tutoring those guys," Cristobal said. "They naturally love the physical part of the game. They showed it today. They threw some bodies around and made some plays."
During one 7-on-7 period, Quarterback Jake Medlock went with the first group, then stood on the side as Lorenzo Hammonds was with the first team receivers and backs through the rest of the drill. The carrot of playing time, perhaps even starting, is being left out there for Hammonds and freshman E.J. Hilliard. But Hilliard's a freshman and Hammonds, a redshirt freshman, is still getting the complete offense down. Hammonds made a lovely throw deep up the right sideline that Jairus Williams outjumped Richard Leonard to get during individual drills.
When the 1s faced each other in team drills, the defense again could claim overall victory. Justin Halley looked better in run support than he had last year. But the offense didn't get squashed. The line sprung Kedrick Rhodes on some good inside runs of 7 and 10 yards and Medlock made some nice throws, including one on the run to Glenn Coleman at the right sideline. Medlock also showed some maturity in one throwaway and another check down completion to Ya'keem Griner.
When the 2s faced each other, the interior defensive line detonated plays before they could happen.
By the way, as a courtesy to your fellow fans, shower and Old Spice (or Secret) before you come to La Cage Aux Panthere this season. Not like it was Soldier Field windy before, but with the enclosure of the north end, there will be even less wind. Same chewy humidity. More sweat. More funk.
Not this kind of funk...