August 11, 2008
8/10 Sights and Sounds
We didn't do a Sights and Sounds from the first two-a-day, so we decided to do a weekend recap with some of the top sights and sounds from the three practices we took in over the course of Saturday and Sunday. We've written about Brandon Magee's physical nature, with tackles of Samson Szakacsy and Ryan Bass during non-tackle segments and on Saturday morning in pads it made sense that Magee would be looking to hit someone when he could get away with a little more. He found his target, T.J. Simpson and proceeded to knock Simpson's chin strap clear off his helmet. Fortunately for Simpson, it was more of a glancing blown than anything, and he walked away fine, chin strap in hand.
The hit by Magee didn't phase Simpson because he went on to have a very good day, making numerous catches in traffic, including the first touchdown of any reciver in red zone work, from Danny Sullivan after Rudy Carpenter came up empty handed with over a half dozen passes in his first go during the period Saturday morning. Don't worry about Carpenter thought, he came back to throw at least three touchdowns in his second go.
David Smith has quietly putting together a strong camp. He's leaner than last year and yet stronger and he looks a bit quicker as evidenced by a couple nice plays he had on Sunday. On one, he broke through the interior of the offensive line on a designed roll out and was breathing down Rudy Carpenter when the quarterback thought better of running at full speed for the sidelines and flicked the ball out of bounds. On another play, he got to Carpenter too quickly for the quarterback to do anything about it.
Over and over, there are a handful of players that seemingly have boundless untapped energy and are willing to let everyone know. Chief among that group is Omar Bolden. In one segment Saturday, when things were particularly sluggish, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Craig Bray tried to summon some energy from his second-strong players by loudly imploring, "C'mon, doesn't anyone want to play? Does somebody want to play? 40 yards away, after having already taken a number of reps with the first-team, came the only audible response. "I do coach," Bolden said loudly. "Put me in coach."
At the Sun Devils' Saturday afternoon workout, the first scheduled for the Indoor Practice Facility, there were a number of visitors present, including former players Ché Britton, Tommie Townsend and Jimmy Verdon. All eyes, however, were on the state's top recruit in the 2009 class, Devon Kennard, who was in attendance with his brother Derek. Kennard spent time talking to former high school teammates Zeb Togiai and Steven Figueroa and fellow 2009 recruits Drew Terrell and Ryan Milus, among others.
Tight ends coach Dan Cozzetto has unintentionally been a part of the action on several occasions, providing a bit of comic relief during practice. Before the team went to pads, there was a practice where Cozzetto was playing linebacker during a drill, and he took a helmet to the side of the face, followed up several reps later by being run into by a running back. Then on Sunday, Cozzetto was intently focused on the tight end/offensive line on a play where quarterback Rudy Carpenter was chased out of the pocket, running into Cozzetto and fumbling the football in the process. Credit a coach with the first forced fumble of camp, and he didn't even know he was about to make the play.
If there is one area where defensive players in the back seven have had the most difficulty, it's been with linebackers and defensive backs losing track of their assignments in zone coverage. This has been most prominent with outside linebackers, who are asked to get to a lot places on the field to pick up a receiver depending on how the rep plays out. Chad Lindsey got a chance to work with the first-team for a brief period Sunday, but it ended when he missed his assignment, which led to a big reception.
One of the key blocks from Sunday's practice didn't come from any player, but rather safeties coach Matt Lubick. On a deep pass from Jack Elway intended for one of the walk-on receivers, the ball was well overthrown and wound up being picked off by Clint Floyd, upon which time Lubick yelled out "let's get a block" and then proceeded to take matters into his own hands. He got a good two hand shove on the intended receiver, who fell to the ground unsuspecting that he'd be taken out by the coach.
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