Both Irish and I are going to pretty hard pressed to make much of fall practice this season. Luckily BuffFiend87 was there taking in the action and was kind enough (thank you!) to send over some observations. Remember, if any of you go to some practices/scrimmages make sure and throw your thoughts into a fanpost and we will do our best to promote the work to the front page.
Defense looks good, particularly in the secondary and LB's. The defensive line needs some work but there is potential. If the Dline can play a little better than expected, I actually think we may have one of the best defenses in the Big 12. The offense and kicking game were concerning. Continued issues throwing down field, not much action from Ussery, Darden or the TEs. Far too many 2-4 yd. passes to the sideline like we've been seeing for years. Running game looks very good, hopefully the passing game can catch up. Kicking, punting, anything special teams related is a big problem area. I'm praying everything comes together on special teams behind closed doors over the next couple of weeks. One bright spot is that there is plenty of speed from Lockridge and other RBs to return kicks and Espinoza is solid at PR.
Cody is the clear starter. When he gets some time, he can make good throws. But there were plenty of times the passing game looked all too familiar to the last couple of years i.e. many incompletions (whether by dropped pass or bad throw) down field and too many screens and short throws. Hansen is such a great runner but he still struggles to go through progressions and make a throw. A little bit inaccurate as well but much improved from last year. If he can continue to mature as a passer he could become an extremely dangerous QB as a junior or senior. I was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see Clark Evans
. He's going to be a project. I hear he played shotgun in college so he looked a little awkward behind center. If he plays at any critical moments this year, we will be in trouble. He certainly looks a little raw but it's very early in practice for him. But he's tall and agile and I noticed he got better as the practice went on. The walk ons were pretty impressive. Seth Lobato
looks good. He's big and has zip on his passes. Slota looks like more of a project and he may be moved to another position but I was still pretty impressed.
Scott looks awesome. He nearly got killed trying to hurdle over a LB and fumbled the ball. I don't know if the hurdle is quite as easy in college. Stewart looked good but then he looked like he hurt his hamstring and was slow for awhile before retiring to the bench. Sumler looks good and may be faster than last year. Lockridge is extremely fast and looks healthy. He should be good catching balls out of the backfield. The walk on from Denver east showed some promise and got a lot of PT.
looked like our best WR. Too bad we won't have him this year. I didn't even see Simmons on the sideline! I am getting veryyyyy nervous that he's never going to play for CU.. This paperwork issue seems a little sketchy to me. Simas should be solid but I tried not to watch him too much since he won't be on the field until at least game 3. McKnight will be solid as usual but we look really small otherwise. Darden and Ussery didn't get much PT today. Darden almost made a long catch and both look big and fast so hopefully they're still learning and will get some more PT in the next couple of weeks.
Beasts. The first team looked excellent and gave the QBs plenty of protection and show great potential on running plays. They are fast and agile yet gigantic. Solder and Miller look great out there. There were some problems with the snap, particularly in shotgun. Hopefully that will be mitigated. The second team OL got pretty much dominated by the second team defense. I don't know if the guys were tired or what but toward the end it got pretty sloppy.
Where are they? I keep dreaming of a return to the Christian Forea, Matt Lepsis, Daniel Graham, Q Stpynewski, etc. era when the TEs were a bigger part of the offense. Maybe I missed it but I didn't see many catches or pass attempts to the TEs over the middle. We have talent and depth at the position so I hope I just missed something. Thornton got some PT and made a couple of excellent catches.
Inconsistency is the word. I'm confident that Goodman can make 3/4 of kicks from 40 yards or less. Beyond that I'm thinking 1/3 or so. DiLallo didn't look great at P. Grossnickle was played a lot at P and struggled but he showed some potential at K. I'm not sure he's a better option than Goodman right now. The other kicker (James Davis?) only kicked off a couple of times. Not great protection during FG attempts but solid kick return coverage.
They're definetely the "weak link" on defense but there's a lot of promise. Herrod is big and fast. Goree is huge. Kasa (pronounced Kay-suh I learned today so say it correctly so you don't get made of by your friends like me) and Bonsu (ed. note - Allen representing) looked good. Kasa is enormous along with Miller and Solder as the biggest looking players out there. I think Kasa will get a lot of PT this year and should start by next year at the latest.
So much talent at this position! Everybody looks good. Burton should be awesome. It was great to finally see Rippy in person. He looks as good as advertised. I hope they can really carry the DL for awhile and be difference makers in stopping the run.
They look solid. It was hard to gauge though because the offense isn't capable of many pass attempts down the field so it's hard to know how they will fare against pass happy spread teams. but they're big, fast and seem organized. The young guys (Mahnke, Orms, etc.) look like they're full of potential.
Finally, Will Jefferson actually got some PT and made a couple of catches today. He looks pretty good out there for being so new to the program. Dustin Ebner and Espinoza got a lot of PT with the first team offense. I don't know who #33 is (maybe a FB?) but he kind of reminded me of Brandon Drumm - big, bruising blocker with nice hands out of the backfield.