Monday, August 17, 2009

Football practice, Monday, August 17

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

Coach Glanville was running punt/kick return drills again this morning and time and time again, wide receiver Aaron Woods shined. He always keeps one eye on the ball and the other on the approaching defenders and manages to make this level of multitasking look easy. The ball always falls between the numbers and upon reception, he puts on a burst on speed and moves that make your head swim. He should continue to be an important part of special teams like he was last year.

It was not a great day for the Vikings' quarterbacks. Both starter Drew Hubel and the team's presumed number two, Connor Kavanaugh, left a bit to be desired in today's 11-on-11 drills. The drills were conducted on the short and long fields today with much the same results on both.

Hubel consistently overthrew his receivers all morning. One might be inclined to think the routes weren't finished or the defense was getting some good bumps in, but that just wasn't the case. Any receiver he threw to was too far away from the ball to make a genuine attempt at it. There were times when the ball was too low or too high. A well-positioned ball was nary to be seen.

There is no doubting Hubel's talent and this was apparently just a bad morning. He also has some timing issues to work out with his new group of receivers. Seven of the thirteen wide receivers on the roster are new to the team this year.

Kavanaugh didn't fair any better than Hubel at today's practice. However, where Hubel made some mistakes on the physical side of things, Kavanaugh made errors from a mental standpoint that were far more egregious than Hubel's errors.

It seemed as though Kavanaugh kept seeing things that just weren't there. On one particular play, the offensive line was very stiff and gave him plenty of time to find an open receiver and complete a pass. There was no pressure being applied to him, but all he managed was a weak, wobbly pass to receiver Daniel Wolverton that was only a completion because of Wolverton's athleticism. Time in the pocket like that only happens once in a blue moon and Kavanaugh must learn to make the best of it when it happens.

By far the most unnerving situation with Kavanaugh at the helm played out on the short field. All of his receivers were covered and instead of taking off with the ball like he is apt to do or being patient until someone came loose, he threaded the ball through a wall of defenders and wound up with an incomplete pass. If the secondary had been so inclined, it would have been an easy interception. A mistake like that at the goal line has the potential to lose a game.

Kavanaugh is a good athlete and imbues the Vikings' offense with a scrambling ability, but he has a bit more to learn about the game management side of things. It will without a doubt come with time.

Cornerback Michael Williams was a bright spot in the secondary today, breaking up several passes. He never takes his eyes off of the receiver and stays physical throughout the play. Fellow cornerback Denzel Davis also had nice coverage and broke up a pass. Both of these freshman players from Texas, and both at 5-9, look like they could offer some relief during the season to help everyone else at the position stay healthy.

Two a day practices start tomorrow and it will be interesting to see the progression of the team as practice becomes more concentrated.