Blah weather for Thursday morning at FIU Stadium. The players probably were happy to have some cooling rain in the chewy heat.
Thought of something as I noted which unit some guys ran with, a corollary to my observation about Jakhari Gore's practice reps in yesterday's post-practice blog post: clearly, the best cornerback and possibly the best player last spring and in camp so far has been junior Richard Leonard. Yet all but a few of Leonard's reps, right from the start, have been with the second team. Senior Sam Miller and sophomore Jeremiah McKinnon have done most of the first team corner work. Today, again, Leonard was with freshman Brad Hyman-Muhammad on the second team.
(I'm in the Graham Center, facing the aquarium, as I type this. I look up and see Ron Turner holding son Cameron Turner's toddler daughter as she and Grandpa peer into the aquarium from the other side. Sweet moment.)
Anyway, back to Leonard...is that what you do in a training camp with a new defense if you think you'll have that player for your first game? Same theory: still installing a new offense, do you run your leading returning receiver in camp as far as catches, yards, touchdowns and yards per catch almost entirely with the second team? That's where senior wide receiver Glenn Coleman has spent the last week and a half, except for the occasional first team rep. Dominique Rhymes and T.J. Lowder with DeAndre Jasper in the slot when they go three-wide has been the standard group with the first team line and Medlock.
Nobody will or can say anything right now. But are words necessary when logic gets applied to actions?
Freshman tight end Jonnu Smith might get more than the usual early exposure.
Practice closed practicing for a miracle -- 55 seconds, offense with the ball at their own 40 needing a touchdown with no timeouts.
When the first teams went at each other, redshirt junior quarterback Jake Medlock hit sophomore wide receiver DeAndre Jasper short to the left and Jasper got out of bounds. Medlock overthrew everyone deep on second down. A Lamarq Caldwell third down run gained little, leaving fourth down. Medlock threw a short pass behind Coleman or Coleman ran the wrong route.
The second teams took the field. A Shane Coleman run and E.J. Hilliard scramble got a first down. Hilliard got sacked on what was supposed to be a play action pass. Coleman dropped a nice deep ball from Hilliard, who had better accuracy from 40 yards than from 14 Thursday morning. The clock read 0:00, but one more play was allowed. Hilliard went Flutie to Jairus Williams with senior Mitch Wozniak and Hyman-Muhammad on Williams. The two defensive backs compounded poor ball recognition with body recognition and ran into each other as Williams reached over his head for the touchdown catch.
It was an appropriate end to practice. Hilliard dropped several rainbows downfield Thursday.
I asked Turner what he thinks when he sees placekick snaps skipping across the grass (a couple more Thursday) or bobbled (one Thursday). He laughed, "Go for it a lot on fourth down." Then, he said seriously, "We can't have that. We have to have zero errors in that part of it."