The second practice of the day was considerably cooler thanks to some heavy rain between practices. In fact, I actually thought that practice might be cancelled.
I arrived a little early to try and get a chance to talk to a few players but with very little success. (Little difficult without press passes) I did manage to ask Chad Morton if he was excited about getting a chance to play running back this year and his eyes lit up as he signed an autograph for me. He told me that he sure was. I sure hope he gets a shot. He was very acomodating to the kids that were around me signing autographs before practice started. he was oe of the first ones on the field for the afternoon practice.
Practice started with some exercising before the team split into offensive and defensive units.
I went to the opposite side as everyone again. It really is a lot closer action watching the defense. Note to people planning to attend camp... bring lots of bug spray, the black flies are plentiful.
I went straight to the defensive line since I had not seen them much this morning and Bruce Smith also dressed this afternoon. The defensive tackles were on the sled first. Jermaine Haley is a big guy. There wasn't much of note except that Noble and Haley were definitely the best two. Big Daddy didn't practice but I did see him leave in his nice white Hummer as I was walking to my car.
When the defensive ends came over, I noticed that Upshaw was not in pads. I had heard that he wasn't going to be practicing at all (but he did this morning) so I don't think that he hurt himself as much as he was just taking it easy. Smith and Wynn looked very good and their excellent technique is apparent when you see the ease with which they drive the sled. Wynn really impressed me today in the drills.
It started to rain and the defensive linemen moved to the opposite side of the field, so I decided that I would go over to the other field and watch the special teams practice. Am I ever glad that I did.
Bart Bartholomew was really hoofing his punts... and consistently. He was 10 yards longer than Bryan Barker on almost all of his punts (they alternated) and he was getting great hang time too. I was talking with a guy I met and we were both amazed at how well he was kicking the ball (several 50 yard punts).
Morton was very impressive. Not only did he field every punt, he never once bobbled the ball. Sean Dillard, the rookie from Temple, also made a few really good catches on Barker punts that he had to go a long way for.
The horn went and the defense and offense moved to the same field to do some passing drills. Wow, what a difference a half a day can make. The offense looked great, more importantly Patrick Ramsey was brilliant. Time after time, he fired the ball exactly where it should be. It was full speed with the defense and he was making his reads QUICKLY and pressure was never an issue... he just stepped up and fired it to the receiver.
There were a few players of note other than Ramsey. Laveranues Coles looked really good beating Champ once and beating Smoot badly another time. Cliff Russell may have been the receiver that impressed me the most. This guy is really fast... I mean really fast. He ran past the coverage three or four times like they were standing still. Taylor Jacobs also had a good practice, and also has great speed. I left practice today pretty excited about the possibilities for the receiving corps this year.
Other things of note about the passing drills...
Sultan McCullough made a great one handed diving catch running down the sideline.
Matt Bowen showed amazing speed and technique running down Jacobs from seemingly a long way back and by taking a great angle. It would have been really easy for Bowen to give up on the play but he hustled Jacobs down.
Darneian McCants and Ramsey also had a nice pass catch combo on about a 45 yard bomb.
Gibran Hamdan throws a really nice ball. (More on him in another thread)
Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas looked awesome beside each other. Noone seemd to be able to get near Ramsey during the drills. I don't know if that's a sign of a pass rush problem, an offensive line dream, or both. I'll keep my eye out throughout the week.
Morton had a couple of great plays including a play that he made an amazing spin move in the backfield and then sprinted away from everyone.
Practice was called short due to rain.
After the practice, Ramsey was once again very gracious with his time with the fans, as was Coles and Bryan Johnson. I talked to Johnson for a few minutes and told him that I'd love to interview him for the site. He seemed like a really down-to-earth good guy. Coles also came and signed an autograph for me when he had obviously had to go (to catch the team bus). Derick Dockery also came over for me and I was suddenly aware of what a small human being I was at the side of him. Wow.
I've met some really great people so far at camp,so if you see a long hair walking around with a theHogs.net visor on it... please, come up and say hello and let's watch a little football together.
That's it for the afternoon practice coverage. I have sorted out my online situation a bit, so I hope to start bringingthem to you a little sooner after practice. I'm also trying to be as thorough as I can and not being brief for the sake of posting as soon as possible.
I interviewed Hamdan's brother today too, so I'll post that later. I'm going to get a few pics ready for all you guys first.