For today’s practice I tried to focus on one unit and give you guys a description of how that unit is coming along, and for today the focus was on the offensive and defensive lines.
The biggest news today may have come from the defensive line, with Ricky Heimuli, Wade Keliikipi, and Tony Washington all practicing today and being full-go for the day. Heimuli and Keliikipi both looked really good, especially when singled out in the one-on-one period. Heimuli absolutely steamrolled an offensive lineman during one-on-ones and Keliikipi showed that he has some surprising quickness for a guy his size, blowing by an offensive lineman to beat him. Isaac Remington continued to get some time with the first team defense, despite the return of Heimuli and Keliikipi, and Remington has looked pretty good recently and he was another guy who stands out when you get to see him in one-on-one periods. Jared Ebert also got a few plays with the ones today; Ebert didn’t really seem to stand out much today, but the fact that he was able to get in with the ones seems to indicate that the coaches think he is improving. At defensive end, Terrell Turner and Dion Jordan proved tough to stop, although Turner did come offsides at one point during one-on-ones. Turner did blow up a shovel pass in the backfield though, knocking it down.
The offensive line seems to be coming along alright, but there’s still some room for improvement before the year starts. The O-Line seems to do a good enough job when facing a 4 man rush, but struggles a little to slow down blitzes when the defense sends more pressure. This could also be seen as a credit to the defensive line for creating gaps for the linebackers to blitz through, and may be amplified by the running backs struggling to pick up blitzing linebackers. Some of the linemen that stood out today during one-on-one’s were Nick Cody and Ryan Clanton. Cody stood his ground well in one-on-ones and Ryan Clanton just absolutely stopped a defender in one-on-ones, not allowing him to get to the pad at all. Ramsen Golpashin and Karrington Armstrong looked really good at run-blocking in 11 on 11, getting downfield and paving the way for a nice run by DeAnthony Thomas. Trevor Fox looked good in one-on-one, forcing his man outside and keeping him from getting to his target.
The player of the day was likely DeAnthony Thomas who had yet another great practice, even getting some time in with the first team offense. Thomas broke off several big runs over the course of the day and also continued to show that he can be a big threat in the passing game, making a few receptions.
At quarterback, Darron Thomas looked pretty good and Bryan Bennett had a bit of an up and down day, throwing some pretty passes but also being picked off as well. Marcus Mariota continued to struggle a bit with his accuracy, missing on some easier passes.
At wide receiver, Rashaan Vaughn stood out a bit today, having one of his better days of practice, and making several receptions while spending most of the day with the first team offense. Nick Cole also looked pretty good with the twos, making a nice catch on a pass that was perfectly fit in between Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Avery Patterson who were in zone defense. Dior Mathis is still trying to catch up with the offense, but showed a little promise today, making a few catches including back-to-back receptions at one point.
On defense, Terrance Mitchell had another good day today, coming up with an interception in 3 on 2’s. Derrick Malone also had an interception today, picking off Bryan Bennett. Josh Kaddu looked really good pressuring the quarterback, getting into the backfield and having what would have been a sack during 11 on 11.
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