Monday, August 24, 2009

Football practice, Monday, August 24

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

The cold temperature this morning really brought it home that football season begins in just 12 days. On cold, cloudy mornings like this one, it's hard to believe there is another place as beautiful to watch football practice as Stott Field.

The first offense took on the second defense and vice versa in this morning's 11-on-11 drills. The first defense and certain members of the second defense are making progress. They move together and help each other out when it's needed. The offense still appears to be a little patchwork at times, but, in all honesty, there is marked improvement from both spring ball and just two weeks ago when practice began.

Currently, safeties Cody Worthen and Jordan Brown are deemed to be the starters and it looks like a good combination. They seem to have very different styles of play. Brown is on the move quickly after the snap whereas Worthen employs more of a wait-and-see strategy. Brown is a constant presence in the ball's vicinity, but Worthen sticks with whomever he's covering.

Both seem to be holding back a bit at practice, which doesn't seem like a bad thing given the smattering of injured players on the sidelines. I have heard Worthen described as the "future of the defense" and Brown as a "team leader"—these two working together for the first time should be an anchor point for the defense.

Also on the defensive side of things, cornerback Denzel Davis did a good job of staying on his receiver, particularly on a pass to Nevin Lewis. Linebacker Ryan Rau also did a good job impeding receivers and had a strong stop on receiver Justin Monahan.

Punter Thomas Duyndam and his presumed back up Zach Brown had good practices. It's difficult to tell how strong their feet are as they only kick for a few moments and from a specific, constant range, but they both looked to have good control of the ball with decent hang time. Duyndam for the most part averaged about six seconds of hang time over a distance of 30-40 yards. He kicks the ball fairly high and seems to be able to put it where he wants it.

Drew Hubel threw a beautiful pass to Lavonte Kirven. On a long field, Hubel's pass was textbook. He put it out in front of the receiver, where only Kirven could get it. It was perfectly placed between the numbers and it came down soft, but didn't for a moment float dangerously. Perfection.

There are still errors made and there is no mistaking that this is a young team, but there have been some good practices recently that left little that was negative to report.

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