After taking a few minutes to fill the stomach, we’re ready to share our observations from this morning’s practice. Read on for more about the players missing and other news and notes.
• As we mentioned in our story for tomorrow, there were 10 players sitting out of today’s practice, including four front-line receivers and two starting linebackers. Coach Paul Wulff said after practice that Jeshua Anderson may not be back for a while but after talking with Mike Levenseller later my impression was he expects all of the receivers, with the possible exception of Johnny Forzani, to be back next week. That should give them enough time to get ready for the opener against Stanford on Sept. 5. … There is one positive from guys missing practice. “Obviously, it gives the young guys an opportunity to run with the ones and twos,” Wulff said. For example, freshman Darren Markle was the No. 1 middle linebacker Wednesday, joining Louis Bland and Jason Stripling. And freshman Gino Simone has been able to get more time with the ones at receiver, allowing his talent to shine through. He won’t be redshirting.
• Before we get to the next note, a confession for ethics purposes. Twice in four years of playing college baseball I was kicked out of practice for either mouthing off (dumb) or not working hard enough (even dumber, especially considering my lack of talent). And that’s why, when I saw Toby Turpin jogging down the Martin Stadium turf midway through practice, heading for cover behind the west goal post, I wasn’t too concerned. Seems Turpin had either said something or done something that got him exiled from the defensive end of the field. After a while Wulff came over, talked with the junior for three minutes and sent him back to the drills. For the rest of the day Turpin ran with the second defense while redshirt freshman Dan Spitz held down the right tackle spot with the ones. During the practice-ending scrimmage, Turpin made a couple of tackles. … Brian Danaher started eight games at guard last season. But the redshirt junior is not running with the first group right now, backing up B.J. Guerra and Zack Williams at both spots. So Wednesday he started taking snaps at center, working with the second group for a scrimmage possession. With backup center Andrew Roxas still out waiting for a confirmed diagnosis for whatever is ailing him, the Cougars need to build depth at the position, according to Wulff. “At center, right now, we’ve only got Kenny (Alfred) and Chris Prummer,” Wulff explained. “If Andrew Roxas is going to be on the shelf for a while, then we need to make sure we get a third veteran player in there that can give us snaps. It’s kind of like having a third quarterback. Those two positions on offense, you have to make sure you have three people who can function there.”
• When the No. 1 punt return unit ran on the field, Brandon Jones was back as the returner. … LeAndre Daniels got some snaps at safety with the top unit. … Carl Winston was back in a regular jersey and took a lot of snaps as Marcus Richmond was out. Winston was also working on kickoff returns. … It looks like Patrick Rooney will handle the kickoff chores again. Nico Grasu missed a 48-yard field goal attempt and made one from 35 yards. … The Cougars will have another day of two practices Thursday. They’ll start at 9 in the morning and return at 3 p.m.
• That’s what we’ve got right now. We’ll be back in the morning. Until then …