Thursday, August 27, 2009

Football practice, Wednesday, August 26

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

Football practice followed the same structure that it has all week with the first team taking on the opposing second team, yet there has been a shift in the routine from last week. It seemed like last week the focus was really on fundamentals, but this week the focus is clearly on what to do after the snap. It really seems to be making a difference. With so many freshmen on the team, it might be impossible to give them enough looks across the line of scrimmage before the season opens.

Receiver Lavonte Kirven was on his game today and ran two beautiful routes up the defense's left side with a reception each time. He has a good sense of timing and looks for the ball at the right moment. Receiver Ray Fry dropped two balls that had his name all over them. He can be good when he's on, but for the moment, he doesn't seem consistent enough to be counted on.

Defensive lineman Siasu Matagiese got a piece of two balls today. One pass he simply reached up and hit, breaking it up beyond repair. On yet another pass that was low, he caught the ball that the quarterback threw. He is keenly aware of where the ball is after the snap, a skill that makes it difficult to believe that this will be his first year playing at the collegiate level. He is coming from Hawai'i with several accolades and he could become an important part of the line.

The punt/kick return drills today were more involved with more players taking part in them. Linebacker Jaycob Shoemaker was in on them as he was yesterday. On one return, he got to the receiver very quickly and the receiver let the catch go right through his hands and knees. Shoemaker covered it up and if it had been a real game, it would have given his team possession with great field position. It's this quickness and ability to react that would make him a key part of the return team.

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