A poster's opinion on 4/9 practice

By: Old Hickory Trojan

from WeareSC.....FWIW:

"I had a chance to get out to campus today, to see if the team still had some focus in it after the Spring Showcase, or Spring Sheetshow, depending on one's perspective.

No pads today, shells and helmets. A windy, but sunny day, and a light crowd on hand.

Antwaun Woods dropped by with a young boy who I am guessing is his son. Twaun, a now a big part of the Cowboys D-line, is a far cry from the "Cookie Monster" some of you might remember when he was a frosh. His son loved running off with a nice sprint along the HoJo grass. Cute kid, and maybe a future Trojan.

First thing I noticed was that little hitch, or shoulder dip I saw in JT a few sessions ago, was now gone from his motion. Maybe I was imagining things to begin with, but today he had really nice mechanics and the fastest release in drills. There wasn't a lot of live action today, but the second most impressive QB for this session was Kedon Slovis. He's still growing into his body, and is all elbows out there at times, but he throws a damned accurate ball and clearly has some poise. Not a huge arm, but an above average one, and Kurt Warner taught him well at Desert Mountain High.

We're thin at corner when it comes to numbers this Spring, but Greg Johnson and Isaac Taylor-Stuart are two greyhounds physically that we do have on the field right now. I'm surprised nobody bit on Johnson in the transfer portal, but now he has a chance to make a statement at 'SC. Taylor-Stuart looks like he's on his way to making a statement now. He had a nice run support "stop" today, knifing through a few blockers and forcing a holding call from the officials on hand.

I got a real close look at four players we need big things from on the D line. Rector, Murphy, Lichtenstein and the big frosh Drake Jackson were running hand fighting and shield drills with Coach K for a solid 30 to 40 minutes. Rector has some speed, but should be more powerful at this point in his development, IMHO. Murphy looks like his base has developed and he moves better laterally than he did last year. Lichtenstein is massive, but was the least explosive, at least laterally. Jackson is a huge upgrade from the last Trojan to wear #99. (Sorry, Wole.) Quick feet, power, and low center of gravity on Drake. He's polished for a Frosh and we should expect him to have an impact this season.

I miss being able to watch from DF. I didn't get the best look at the rest of the D because we're on the sideline, but it's interesting to see the players who are developing into a vocal presence. Hunter Echols is one. If he can back that up with some impactful play this year, that's a very good thing. If it's all talk, no walk, it's a bad example for the team, IMHO. He called out Tyler Vaughns for letting a high pass deflect through his hands into Johnson's arms. Hunter was right, the play by Tyler was "terrible" and "ass." I think I overheard the two are roommates.

Speaking of receivers, JJ3 is a lot more solid than folks think, especially on a day when big Devon Williams was relatively quiet. Coach Colbert called out Williams' focus a little bit. No surprise, Colbert and Harrell are the most active coaches out there.

The backs look good. I got a fairly close look at the old footwork drills. Stepp moves laterally, forward and cuts as well as Carr. Really impressive for such a big man. Vavae also moves well and with explosion. It was interesting to me that Carr really put a lot into his drill. He seemed to chomp at the bit for it, and pound at the ball until his turn was up. I'm guessing he's ready to prove he's fully healthy. If single digit body fat percentage is any indication, he is ready.

Clancy remains an enigma to me, especially for a coordinator whose defenses have given up more and more points every year he's been here. At one point he needled injured Oliajah Griffin that it was his kinda practice: "No pads and no tackling." Even Griffin laughed a little.

The practice ended with end of game scenarios, Clay calling out 30 second scenarios and running a Hail Mary defensive drill. I gotta say though, the mood was light for these, probably too light. The only player who seemed to be taking it as seriously as a team should was Pittman, who switched to D to bat away a ball. If we lose a game on a Hail Mary this year, I'll remember Spring Ball on April 9.

I expected some butts to drag after the Spring Showcase, or Sheetshow. It was only a facsimile of football, but it was at least a little closer than what I saw today. Today, I saw a team that didn't seem across-the-board serious about the business of getting better. Guys like Pitty, the Jacksons, Stepp, and Carr were focused, to name a few, but I sense these are guys who came to 'SC with that mindset.

Just one fan's opinion, but this looks like a 7-win team to me, tops. Plenty of talent, some good coaches, but just too inconsistent in its overall focus and intensity. I hope they make me look like an idiot during the Fall and the season and end up winning 10. Fight On!"

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