Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Football practice, Tuesday, August 25

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

This morning, in the rain, the first offense and the second defense carried out 11-on-11 drills again and vice versa, just like yesterday.

The first offense is getting better at creating running lanes. Bobby McClintock had plenty of room to run and he had quite a few productive carries. Evans Okotcha and Nick Kalpin, who, in his second year, should see more playing time than Okotcha and fellow fullback and freshman Ben Bowen, both had space to make things happen.

Receiver Ray Fry looked good today, so it can be assumed that a nagging hamstring injury is no longer bothering him. Drew Hubel threw some balls his way and he had a catch for around 20 yards. He also caught a beautifully thrown pass from third string quarterback Nick Green.

Quarterback Connor Kavanaugh showed some progress in his game play patience today. Even under pressure, his internal game clock seemed to slow down and he patiently waited until he found an open receiver in Kalua Noa. Generally in a situation such as this, he scrambles and it was heartening to see him sit in the pocket and wait it out.

Freshmen defensive linemen David Gertson and Dereck Jester played the run fairly well. They pulled together for a great stuff of Kalpin.

Against the first offense, receiver Nevin Lewis had some good catches and even better yards after the catch. He repeatedly burned the defense's right side. Receiver Justin Monahan managed to find a rare hole in the middle of the field and made a great play on the ball.

It seems that there are two players guaranteed to do some blocking down field on kick and punt returns. Linebackers Jaycob Shoemaker and Colton Russi were the two constants during today's special teams drills. They seem to compliment each other well. Shoemaker seems a little quicker all around, but Russi seems to have the big hit capacity. Linebacker Kevin Takeno and fullback Kalpin alternated rounding out the group of three working this particular drill.

I try to keep my opinion out of these accounts, but there is something I have to get off my chest. I really, REALLY want to see a receiver, besides the very talented Aaron Woods, step up and tell Hubel he's the guy. The receivers all work hard at practice and most of them have decent hands and speed, but overall, besides Woods, they lack aggressiveness. I want to see them fight for the ball and push just a little harder to get everything they can out their catches. The offense will greatly benefit should anyone decide to make it happen.


Jeremy Towsey-French said...

i stopped by practice for a bit today (thursday) and found the drills to pack a solid punch. even in the heat of the afternoon, the players displayed a high level of intensity --befitting a team about to face a strong foe.

the kicking game was exercised and seemed quite precise with excellent ball placement near the goal line. the return game also highlighted a few players who displayed excellent speed and ball handling. although an essential skill for special teams, ball handling can lead to a complete dismantling of an offensive series before it ever begins.

in a series whereby the special teams unit was exercising onside kicks, coach glanville made a point to drive home to the receiving players that they simply need to secure the ball. the focus has to be on catching, securing and falling on the ball --do 'not' advance the ball. this is an excellent starting point and shows the coach's dedication to teaching essentials to securing the game so you can run the clock. resers stadium will not be forgiving, so the focus needs to be tight.

the passing exercises displayed hubel and kavanaugh in excellent form. what i really like about hubel is his presence. he has the stance, form and delivery of a pro. his strength comes from the core but his delivery is all arm. he delivers accurate bullets, even in the 40-yard range. if he can get time from his offensive line and his receiving corp holds on to the ball instead of anticipating the run-after, he will find huge success.

conversely, kavanaugh delivers the ball with much more of his upper body. he also launches rockets --accurate at that-- but his form is dependent on more of his upper body. he has impressive strength and control, but his delivery is slightly more labored. kavanaugh has the presence and stature of the great jimmy blanchard, though his throwing form differs as he launches as much of himself into the pass as he does the ball.

this isn't so much a criticism as it is an observation. again, kavanaugh is a tremendously good passer --likely one of the best in the big sky-- but his stature and form showcase a much different style to that of a hubel, who displays more of the characteristics we find in professional players who have a height advantage. this being said, either player could inflict serious damage on a porous defensive backfield. it will be excellent to see these ace gunslingers rotate against a weaker team.

2009 could be very strong, viking fans, as long as the players remain committed to execution over anything else. their talent will shine within the confines of execution --as long as they get the execution first. talent alone does not make the player and talent certainly won't win games by itself.

Allison said...

I agree with some of these assessments, but I think it does one well to keep in mind the youth of this team. It's not that their individual ages mean much, but their experience working together does.

I really believe that Coach Glanville is set for a good, solid team after this year. I also still think the team has a chance to be very successful this year; however, it is prudent to remember that progress isn't made simply in Ws&Ls.

Jeremy Towsey-French said...

no doubt. tim walsh certainly didn't build teams overnight --time and experience on the field definitely turn players into a 'team'.

i remember in blanchard and chip dunn's senior year, there were some 31 seniors on the roster. competitors simply couldn't contend with that without a very impressive game plan.

i agree that next year will be a big year. i consider 2009 to be a season with the potential for pleasant surprises. :)