OK, got my colada, which I really needed during the first half of Wednesday morning's practice, and an iced tea, so here's a recap of the morning.
The team was back in FIU Stadium. First to do the happy dance about that should've been the kickers, who were kicking line drives barely clearing the line, never mind the crossbar during Tuesday's Tamiami Park practice. Back on the fake grass, Sergio Sroka went three for three again in field goal drills, hitting from 33, 37 and 43. He was wide right from 43 in two-minute drills at the end of practice.
Other than that, well...Randy Harvey blocked a 47-yard attempt from Cody Hodgens. Hodgens hit from 33. Karson Dietrich had a 37-yard field goal blocked, then hit from 43.
Let it be said, also, that sometimes, long snappers Brandon Taylor and Sam Medlock get it back there just fine, and sometimes, they look like they're tossing infield practice at Marlins Park. With a new offensive line, FIU could have trouble in the red zone. That means field goal attempts for some three-point solace. Any comfort with a field goal attempt begins with the snap. "Smooth almost all the time" doesn't get it done, much less "sometimes."
Some personnel deployment noticed during drills: running back Jakhari Gore's in pads, but doesn't get any reps in 11-on-11, 7-on-7 or, today, the quarterback-running back screen-flat pass drills. That's not how you practice with somebody you plan to use 17 days from now. Bowling Green transfer Anthon Samuel's involved in drills. Generally, however, the top four running backs based on first and second team reps are sophomore Lamarq Caldwell, redshirt sophomore Shane Coleman, freshman Alfonso Randolph and freshman Silas Spearman.
University of Miami transfer Cory White got some first team reps as did freshman tight end Jonnu Smith. Freshmen linebacker Treyvon Williams and cornerback Brad Hyman-Muhammad (the subject of the next Herald story) ran with the second team during 11-on-11 drills late in practice. Afterwards, FIU coach Ron Turner said it wasn't just throwing the puppies some bones -- they've earned it through play in practice and have drawn notice from the coaches. Hyman-Muhammad picked off an underthrown Jake Medlock bomb to Glenn Coleman and got burned on a Medlock-to-Lowder 30something-yard toss to the corner.
Best play of the day: in run game drills, senior defnesive tackle Isame Faciane buffaloed past center Donald Senat with such power and speed, Senat seemed helplessly swept in Faciane's wake. As Faciane shed Senat, he banged into running back Shane Coleman and the collision dropped Coleman for a loss of about 5.
Speaking of which, there was live tackling today for the first time in camp.
During some of the 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills, I started timing the releases for Medlock and sophomore E.J. Hilliard. Hilliard's were closer to what the West Coast offense demands when the ball was between the 20s, even getting off a deep completion to fifth-year senior wide receiver Jairus Williams in 3.3 seconds.
From inside the 15 yard line, however, Medlock took too long only on his first pass, an overthrow in the end zone that took 3.7 seconds. After that, he was low to DeAndre Jasper in 2.0 and hit Jonnu Smith in 2.0 and 2.4 for touchdowns. Hilliard had a checkdown to Silas Spearman in 2.5 seconds, an incomplete fade in 1.7 seconds, didn't get rid of the ball in 4.5 seconds before scrambling (sack if it wasn't 7-on-7), incomplete in 3.5 seconds (another sack) then connected with Zach Schaubhut in the back of the end zone in 2.2 seconds.
Some of this is on the receivers, who aren't always getting open quickly enough. During one stretch of plays with Hilliard, the second team receivers couldn't get open on the third team secondary. One of the most undervalued skills of a quarterback is knowing when to throw the ball away. Though Medlock and Hilliard both know how to run, knowing when to fire into the fifth row also will come in handy this year.