Football Practice Report #1
Yes, the heat was on this morning, though it was a little cooler early on. A couple of notes since there wasn't much action (they aren't in full pads yet).
Senior Trevor Walker, who according to RA is down to 188, is moving to safety. Darrell Givens has a academic issue they are waiting on but Thomas Bradley had basically beaten him out. He was bothered by some back spasms and got to see a lot of r-freshman Walter Dunston, who I think will be a big-time player eventually.
Here are some quotes regarding the renovated locker rooms from RA
"When I first got here in the fall of 1988, the locker room was terrible. My high school locker room was better. When I got here in 2009, the locker room was terrible, my high school locker room was terrible. What was wrong? The design. They built the building, got to the locker room and didn't want to spend money on it. They made it a room. Now we made it a Division I locker room. People say it has the bells and whistles. It ain't about bells and whistles. In today's world it's the things you need. There's a finite amount of space. We use it as a meeting room. An individual meeting room, a team meeting room. And a media center, which are things you need to survive in today's world."
We talked about the schedule and what it was like back then as a young assistant, with the program sort of stuck in neutral. Whether this was possible, playing two FBS teams in one season.
"When all those guys got recruited, we knew that the schedule was going to change one day. It just too longer than necessary. If I had been here my whole career and never been anywhere else, the concept of playing two 1-A teams in year would have been daunting but to me this is just less than normal. You have to keep it moving it forwards."
On team's conditioning
"Coach Pick does a real good job. The guys that were committed to the summer workout program are in extremely good shape for as hot and humid as it is right now. We are going to have a little bit of cramping. My first year, we had guys in the hospital, guys couldn't practice for more than 15 minutes without falling down. Things have come a long way.
I told Hach (Coach Mat Hachmann) our first day I don't know if we can play a lick, but I'll be damned that we look like a football team now."
On four-year guys
"Continuity. Time teaches you. These guys know what to expect. They know how we practice. They know what it means to be a Tiger. Now they are mentors and teachers. You keep a continuity of the staff and everybody knows what to expect and how to get things done. Same things with these old guys. It's part of the greatness of the job. Wins and losses don't matter. Watching these guys come in and what they believe to be grown-ass men at 17 and 18 years old when they are really young men. And watching them progress and mature into what will be very fine and successful men. Knowing that footballl had something to do with it? That's the joy of the job."
"Age breeds confidence. Just watch as these guys walk around. There is false bravado and then there is self confidence. There
is a chasm between the two. None of these kids were brought here without talent. They all have potential. Watching them work and grow to the point where they feel confident in their abilities? That's a good football program.
On backup qb
"Grant (Enders) is the starter and it's his job to lose. Peter (Athens) is the backup and it's his job to lose. He's kind of competing for the starting job but preparing to be a starter every day. Same thing with Conner (Frazier). He's preparing to be a starter every day. But he's number three and it's his job to lose."
"We had a conversation after the lacrosse season about what he missed and what he knew he missed and how he needed to get it back. It was some physical but a lot psychological and not just with him but with his entire team. You just spent six months away from your family and you were supposed to be the leader of it. To his credit, he busted his ass all summer throwing the football and working with these guys. He's back to where you couldn't tell the difference."
"Alex (DiSanzo) is still working through his academic issues. He's in a holding pattern. On (Monte) Gaddis. He wasn't the biggest guy in the world when I looked him in January. He was 210 or so. An extra 10 pounds looks amazing. He brings what transfers bring. A multitude of experiences from a different place, different perspective. A 1-A work ethic and a level of maturity. All of these guys bring a level of maturity at that position that is needed."
On transfers Fred Overstreet (Rutgers) and Telvion Clark (Virginia Tech)
"With Danzel (White) on the shelf for 2-3 weeks, there's tremendous competition. It used to be a tremendous competition and we would just take who we got. Not only are they fighting for jobs because they want to play, but they are fighting to make each other better because they want to win."
Who looked good? Too early to tell since they were mostly partaking in drills and very little 11-on-11. I did like the way Derrick Joseph looked as a receiver. Very smooth and looks a little bigger (155 pounds?). Now wearing #2. Sterlin Phifer is now wearing #42 (yes he's back on the team). Enders looked very good but rest of qbs are way behind him. If they can't get another year for Enders, they need to look at a transfer for 2013. Athens has the big arm and maybe he's a little rusty after playing lacrosse, but he was a little off. Frazier doesn't have the experienced and a sidearm type of delivery. He's pretty accurate and athletic. But when Athens played lacrosse and Enders was having his issues, the offense looked as though it had taken 5 steps backwards. Those backups won't play this year barring injuries or something else but they will have to step it up. Towson has a very good group of receivers right now led by Tom Ryan, Leon Kinnard, Gerrard Sheppard and the underrated Spencer Wilkins. He runs great routes and just knows how to get open. He catches pretty much everything thrown to him. Alex Blake is back and well, he's the deep guy who doesn't always make the grab. Mac Sanders missed the spring so he's got some catching up to do. True freshman Willie Ponder is just getting his feet wet. But I do like Joseph getting more touches this year and Kinnard coming into his own as a junior. Sheppard should have a big year as well.
At corner, Jordan Love should be fine and Tye Smith will battle with Ben Harvey for the other corner spot. Smith is now wearing 24, while his old 39 is being worn by Overstreet.
Speaking of the LBs, they are pretty thin right now with DiSanzo and White sitting out, Walker being moved to safety and Polk and Trey Jackson not returning. But the cat is out of the bag about Telvion Clark, wearing #13. Y'all can look him up and I know there are some red flags but worth the risk. Overstreet, Clark, Kenton Powell and Gaddis all competing until DiSanzo comes b ack (hopefully early next week). Then White should be back to play the middle though we'll see how things shake out.
The D-line isn't really set but it's close. It will be interesting to see what they do with transfer Brendan Gannon (6-2, 260). He can play tackle or end but probably won't start at either. Big junior Arnold Farmer finally gets his chance at tackle with Matt Morgan while All-American Frank Beltre has one end spot locked up. Romale Tucker will start but needs to step it up against the run. They can always go with Gannon or Morgan at end in short-yardage situations and then put big r-freshman Jon Dessir (6-5, 310) in at tackle next to Farmer (6-1, 325). That's a formidable duo.
The O-line should be the deepest its been in years. Jake Schunke and Jake "Taco" McDowell were sitting out due to minor injuries. McDowell should be back to compete with Charles "CJ" Johnson for the starting right guard spot. The left side is set with Eric Pike (6-5, 300) at left tackle, Randall Harris (6-4, 290) at left guard, Doug Shaw at center (6-1, 265). All juniors. Anthony Davis (6-3, 300), also a junior, can play guard or tackle. Right now, I see CJ at right guard (great run blocker) and senior Cory Kirby (6-6, 290) at right tackle. But the right guard spot is still up for grabs.
2011 and 2012 CAA Football Champions