A quick post with some thoughts from the morning practice. Read on if you are interested on this beautiful Sunday morning. Me, I would rather be outside working in the yard or inside watching the PGA. But I'm here.
• Coming off their scrimmage, the Cougars practiced sans pads in their 1 hour 40 minute session. But, despite the lack of hitting, there were some interesting occurrences. ... With Andy Mattingly still sitting with his groin strain, sophomore Mike Ledgerwood slid outside today. We talked with him after practice and he admitted it was different playing the Sam, or strongside linebacker. After all he has played middle for his entire life. But he enjoyed running with the first group and understands this move shows the coaches have faith in him. Though he's still in the running for the middle spot, when he gets the position down he'll be able to relieve either Mattingly or Alex Hoffman-Ellis. ... The most impressive play of the morning came during the seven-on-seven passing drill. Running back James Montgomery ran a wheel route, got behind the defender and freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel hit him with about a 40-yard laser for a score. It's the type of throw only a few young quarterbacks can make. ... Linebacker Joshua Garrett made the play of the morning for the defense in the same drill. Kevin Lopina threw a bb on an out pattern toward tight end Skylar Stormo, but Garrett got a finger on the ball, deflecting it toward Stormo's shoulder. The ball bounced off and back toward Garrett, who secured it, stayed in bounds and scored. ... Receivers coach Mike Levenseller worked for an entire period with his group today, throwing fade after fade. I asked Jack Thompson after practice if Levy now through the ball better than he does. Thompson scoffed, said something about "in his dreams," and laughed. Though Thompson did admit Levenseller gets more practice at these days. ... J.T. Levenseller (ill) missed practice. ... No one has made more strides this fall than receiver Daniel Blackledge. He made a couple catches in the course of practice he never would have hauled in last season. ... The offense worked on the 2-minute drill without a defense late in the session. It was a preview of what's to come throughout the afternoon practice, when the Cougars will add shoulder pads to the helmets they wore in the morning. There should be a lot of situational work.
• That's all for this morning. We'll be back after the afternoon practice with our story and another post. Until then …