Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Football practice, Wednesday, August 12

This post was written by Vanguard writer Allison Whited.

There was plenty of rain to go around this morning at practice and it was a good opportunity for the players who have come here from other less rainy regions to get acquainted with the Oregon weather.

On the whole, the rain didn't seem to affect anyone's vision or ball handling skills. There were a couple of exceptions: wide receiver Keitrell Anderson dropped the ball on a punt reception, and center Tyler Staley had a snap to quarterback Drew Hubel that never left the ground. These things are bound to happen, but as the season and rain wear on, the likelihood of a repeat of these mistakes should diminish.

The offensive line looked better today than they have at the last two practices. They were able to stay together and create running lanes for running backs Bobby McClintock and Ben Bowen. Lineman Zach Dias continually stuck with the man he was blocking throughout practice, receiving praise from the coaches. If he can continue to show that kind of focus, it will help to take pressure off the quarterback, who usually seems a bit rushed, regardless of who it is under center.

The defense looked great today and safety Michael Almond stood out in particular. On one particular play, he read the offense like it was a child's book. Watching Hubel's eyes, he followed the pass and came up with a textbook interception. He played as if the pass was intended for him the whole time; there would be no other receiver and that was evident before the ball was even snapped. It was just incredible to watch.

On another play, Almond was lined up on the right, a little behind the line. Secondary coach Brandon Shelby came up behind him and moved him directly onto the line. When the ball was snapped, Almond was able to find a clear lane to the ball carrier and end the play. It was impressive to watch a former player, Shelby, impart his knowledge of offense to a young, very obviously talented player and see the good that can come from it.

Wide receiver Raymond Fry had a good day today as well. The past couple of practices, he has blended into the background a little bit, but today he caught a couple of passes and fought for more yards after and he had a good catch on a punt return. If he can consistently produce, he will be a great asset for the Vikings.

There were a couple of little skirmishes between players here and there, but there were more smiles on the coaches' faces today. Hopefully, there are even more tomorrow.