Its not how you start but how you finish.
Rakeem Cato would love to go back and start today's session all over again. During the team stretching drills as the beginning of practice, it was Cato that committed a false start during the sprints that required the team to do up-downs. Although it was somewhat of a comical moment as it is extremely rare the Heisman Trophy candidate makes a mistake, this mistake seemed to affect the seniors rhythm the entire practice.
Cato made several ill-advised passes with two that nearly resulted in interceptions. Demetrius Evans dropped a sure completion from Cato that found its way to the turf but not before it was tipped by two defenders that was in the area of the pass. Cato's second near pick was a floater that he through across his body that was intended for Tommy Shuler. Keith Baxter nearly pulled it in but the ball separated from him once he hit the ground.
Cato did have two great passes during the session today, one that was a NFL caliber throw. While working in the skeleton drill (7-on-7) Cato pump faked toward Angelo Jean-Louis then went back to Deon-Tay McManus on a deep flag route for a touchdown.
What may have been Cato's best throw of camp, Cato found Eric Frohnapfel on a deep crossing route for a huge gain. The pass was threaded into smothering tight coverage by linebacker DJ Hunter and while the throw was amazing the catch was just as nice. Expect Frohnapfel and McManus to get a lot of love from Cato.
Kick it if you've got it
The battle of the kickers continued today as Nick Smith could be challenging Justin Haig for some playing time. Both kickers missed only one kick today as Smith pushed a kick left from 40 and Haig left one from 47-yards short. Smith has clearly more distance in his leg than Haig, but consistency could decide his chances. Should the Herd need a 50+ yard field goal for a chance of a win, Smith could be that guy.
Kaare Vedvik continues to handle the kickoffs with Amoreto Curraj still on the sidelines and is making a case to keep Curraj in a back-up role come game day. Vedvik sent two kicks out of the back of the end zone by and easy five yards. His kicks have all been in the end zone and between the sidelines. Vedvik has a real shot at sending the first kickoff of the season downfield for the Herd come 8-30.
Curraj did take a few swings after practice today but showed he has been absent from the field for well over a week. Curraj kicks were nothing of those he booted last year and was kicking the ball from one side of the field to the other with no air under the ball. Needless to say, Curraj still has some work to do before Miami.
Don't touch my quarterback
In the quarterback protection drill today the linebackers had their way with many of the running backs while one back had a much better showing than that of Monday's. Linebacker Jermaine Holmes owned Tony Pittman as he shoved the back directly to the quarterback dummy. DJ Hunter did one better when going up against Kevin Rodriguez after beating the new addition to the Herd back field, Hunter picked the tackling dummy up and carried it away.
After a terrible showing in this drill Monday, Stew Butler showed he wouldn't back down from a challenge. Butler held Neville Hewitt at bay and sent Raheem Waiters to the turf. Butler struggled to keep any of the linebackers from his quarterback dummy Monday.
Watch out for the streaking star
Josh Knight continues to shine when given the opportunity after burning Michael Johnson deep to haul in a diving catch from Gunnar Holcombe. Knight is making a case for playing time as an outside receiver, but has to find some form of consistency as he had another catch-able pass that hit him in the hands fell to the turf for an incomplete pass.
Gator Green is stating his case as a true freshman of how speed kills. Green ran a jet route down the seem for a big gain from Cole Garvin and made a catch at the 3-yard line on a flag route then resulted in six after a sweet juke move between two defenders. This kid could be the heir to Shuler.
Drop it like its hot
As camp nears a point of Coach Holliday naming players to the two-deep, Rodney Allen continues to fall deeper down that list as his drop rate increases. Allen has struggled with catches from all three quarterbacks and won't likely see the field this season.
Craig Wilkins appears to have to fallen to the twos as his struggles of running consistent routes continues. Cato tried to run a flag route to the senior in the back corner of the end zone but Wilkins pulled up coming out of the route and could not turn it on enough to track down the intended pass.
Blake Brooks and Michael Selby continued to sit out the afternoon session while wearing the sunglasses suggesting concussion like symptoms. Coach Holliday said after practice today he expects them both to return soon but did not give a time frame on the return.
Brandon Byrd worked out in shorts and a shirt only and without the sunglasses suggesting he is on track for a return to the field at some point. Byrd worked out with the running backs on the rope ladder and running swing routes into the flat.
Clint Van Horn was walking without the splint on his right foot although he did not participate in the drills. He did spend some time on the bike today during practice.
McManus appeared to bounce back after nursing an injury from Monday afternoon as he was running at full speed and was able to make his required cuts. McManus pulled up after making a cut this morning but appeared serviceable this afternoon.
Justin Hunt sat out on the sideline while working with a trainer. He was injured during yesterday's practice. No information on the extent of the injury.
K-Rod left practice after being injured during the protection drill. His left arm was in a sling at the conclusion of practice and his arm was tucked close to his body after the injury occurred.
Remi Watson left the field after the suffering some form of injury during the protection drill. Watson left the field with a trainer and returned to the Shewey building for evaluation. No information was given about the back.
This and That's
Jarquez Samuel timed the snap count of Holcombe perfectly and nearly took the intended hand off to David Gaydosz as he sent the rookie running back flying backwards.
Just call him Raheem "Pick-6" Waiters after he collected his fourth such interception of camp.
Chris Jasperse gave rookie quarterback a pep talk after struggling once again today. The rookie was visibly distraught after being removed from a drill due to his inconsistency. Jasperse spent nearly two minutes with the quarterback.
Defensive Coordinator Chuck Heater led a motivational speech to the team before the session ended today. Heater was less than pleased with the performance of the team as the day concluded.
Only one practice tomorrow which begins at 2:30 p.m.