Needless to say, today's afternoon session was not anywhere as physical as yesterday. But do not discount the quality of practice as both sides of the ball got after it in the final session before tomorrow's scrimmage. Today's practice focused mostly on 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
Williams has a laser
Prior to practice beginning today, the kicking unit worked on the field doing their normal work out. After completing many of his punts today, Tyler Williams moved back to the end zone to work on placing kicks near midfield. While working on punts, placekickers Justin Haig and Nick Smith were taking turns booting field goals. As Smith set up for a 45-yard attempt, Williams took aim and sent a spiraling punt towards Smith teed up ball. As the ball started it's decent, the punt knocked the ball from the team in flight. Williams leaped in excitement as several other teammates celebrated the trick shot. There was plenty of excitement in the press box as well.
Haig and Smith continued their duel with trading field goal attempts. Unfortunately for Haig, he missed 2-of-3 attempts (30 and 48) while Smith finished 4-of-4 (25, 37, 45 and 48). Smith continues to push the redshirt senior kicker as he offers more power than that of Haig.
Kaare Vedvik booted kickoffs today but the returners did not get a chance to make a return as every kick flew deeply out of the back of the end zone. With Amoreto Curraj still sidelined, Vedvik stands to handle the kicking duties for the Herd. Curraj worked on kickoffs after practice concluded but he is still a ways away from making a return that would push Vedvik from the duties.
Its all about protection
The linebackers got the better of the running backs today in the protection drills. Jermaine Holmes destroyed Stew Butler in his first attempt as Butler continues to struggle with the more physical defenders. Cortez Carter followed suit of Holmes as he blasted past Tony Pittman to get to the tackling dummy. Pittman has made progress but the shifty linebackers has gotten him out of position more than not. Devon Johnson locked up with Raheem Waiters in the best battle of the drill. Waiters needed two spin moves to get past the powerful Johnson, but did get his paws on the the dummy. Although Waiters did get to the goal, the time it took him to get there would have given the quarterback time to step up and scramble.
Rowe your boat
Freshman Antavis Rowe had another solid day while working in the Herd secondary. Rowe nearly picked off his second pass of the day, both against Cato, after tipping the ball off his fingers and into the hands of Demetrius Evans. Rowe was part of one of the biggest plays during the session after taking away a ball from Deon-Tay McManus on the way to the ground. Cato found the tight end which had appeared to have made an amazing catch, but it was Rowe that reached in and took the ball away as the they headed to the turf. It was a great play by all three players involved with Rowe being the superstar in the end.
Shake a Legg
Herd safety AJ Leggett has been stingy with intended passes come in his general direction. Today was no different as Leggett broke up a post route from Cato to Frohnapfel by getting his arm around the massive tight end and the swatting ball away. While the Herd's receivers have played through heavy contact by many of the members of the secondary, Leggett's deflection was clean. The first real test for the receivers and secondary comes tomorrow night as conference officials will work the scrimmage.
During one of few carries today during an 11-on-11 drill, Remi Watson found a gaping hole opened for him to attack by the offensive line. Watson surged through the hole for a huge gain before being stopped from behind. Before returning to the backfield, the redshirt junior gave every member down the line a pat on the backside for a job well done. Watson also had several pass protection pick-ups that allowed Cato to go down field.
Restricted air space
After having a sketchy last couple of days of practice, Cato responded today. At one point he was 5-of-7 while firing threading the needle with passes that were NFL caliber. Cato could have easily been 7-of-7 but the two passes were dropped. Cato appears that he will continue his tight end connection that he had with Gator Hoskins last year after zipping in a pass to Frohnapfel that passed by three defenders for a gain of 21. Angelo Jean-Louis showed off his deep threat potential again today after stretching the field vertically for a 35-yard gain from Cato. Jean-Louis had another solid catch that led him into heavy coverage and solid contact in the session. Cato sprayed the ball around the field to Frohnapfel, McManus and Joe Woodrum while Holcombe and Cole Garvin hooked up with Ryan Yurachek. Woodrum pulled in a grab with Kaleb Harris draped all over him.Coach Holliday believes all four tight ends have a chance to contribute this year.
Josh Knight exhibited that he could be a deep threat after making another diving catch the went for 40 yards by Holcombe. Knight could be a good second or third deep threat for Cato this season.
Only new injury from the morning session occurred to Keith Baxter when he pulled up trying to cover Deandre Reaves streaking down the sideline. Baxter was visibly upset on the sideline while he worked with the trainers.
Brandon Byrd and Darryl Roberts were in shells with the team but only participated in the no-contact session. Both exercised on the bike after the contact session began.
Have you Herd the Word
Yet another scout attended practice today as the Chicago Bears had a representative at both practices. He was seen talking with Coach Holliday after practice.
Tomorrow's scrimmage is scheduled for 7 p.m. and is open to members of the Big Green Club and students with a valid ID. Fans wishing to attend may join the Big Green at the gate.
All practices will now be closed as the team will begin its preparation for Miami-Ohio Monday. Coach Holliday said that the two-deep should be finalized after the scrimmage.