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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Early practice notes: D. Adams, Eltoro out

We reporters just got to see what is probably our last bit of open practice for the foreseeable future, and we came away with a few observations. Here they are, as usual, in a tidy, bullet-point format:

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  • WR Darvin Adams and LB Eltoro Freeman did not practice. Adams, one of three projected starters at wideout, was not in pads and rode on a stationary bike during our viewing period. Freeman was also on the bikes, not using his left leg. He also had a big cast back on his right wrist.
  • Other Muscle Beach participants included OL Kevin Carroll, OL Darrell Roseman, LB Jonathan Evans and S Mike McNeil. TE Robert Cooper, LB Spencer Pybus and OL Andre Harris did not dress out or do conditioning work.
  • WR Tim Hawthorne did not dress out, but he did not have a protective boot on his broken foot. He even participated in a drill where receivers threw passes back and forth to each other.
  • WR Montez Billings wore a blue No. 19 jersey and appears to still be on the scout team. He returned a few punts during a special teams drill, but that was all.
  • DB D'Antoine Hood (Central-Phenix) tested his ankle on the sideline during field goal drills. He was on the field in what appeared to be a scout team capacity on punt coverage. He has been out of action the last few weeks with a high-ankle sprain.
  • Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor wasn't wearing his trademark backwards hat. He looks strange without it.
  • We saw some more 11-on-11 work, with an eclectic mix of first- and second-team players. Here are the highlights:
  • Neil Caudle took all eight snaps in the drill. He went 4-for-8 in the drill, completing screen passes to Onterio McCalebb and Dontae Aycock, a quick slant for a first down to Terrell Zachery and a pass to the flat to TE Gabe McKenzie.
  • After McCalebb caught his screen pass, running backs coach Curtis Luper yelled at him that he was out too wide on the play. "You make it too hard on him," Luper said, referring to the lineman who had to race farther out toward the sideline to make the initial block. By the way, it looked like that forced the lineman to hold his defender in order to spring McCalebb.
  • CB Harry Adams gave up the first-down pass to Zachery. Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn called the exact same play the next time and Adams broke the pass up.
  • Walk-on CB Caleb Blanton had a nice pass break up against Quindarius Carr.

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