The day’s first practice is in the books, at least it’s in my notebook. And as I look through my notes I see almost everything I wrote had to do with offensive success. It’s little wonder the defense stayed after to run sprints.
• It was the offense’s morning from almost the first drill in Martin Stadium. When the groups split in half for competitive drills – the linemen going off to one corner, the skill guys to another – the tone was set. In the seven-on-seven skelly, the running game was emphasized once more. And the offense seemed to get the corner or break contain on most plays. In the other corner, the big guys were working on double team blocks and counters, so the offense should dominate. And it did for the most part, though Travis Long did split the two guys trying to block him one time. But that was the exception. The last 20 minutes was devoted to scrimmaging, the first group of possessions starting on the defense’s 45, the second from the defense’s 20. But that didn’t matter. It was one vs. two (and three vs. three) but that didn’t matter either. The one offense scored, the two offense scored. Only the three defense had stops. … The scrimmage portion of practice started with Zack Williams and Dan Spitz getting into on the first play, a short run. When they didn’t separate quickly enough, they were sent off (both returned quickly). On the next play Kevin Lopina found Jared Karstetter behind Aire Justin for a 45-yard score. But the two offense topped even that, scoring on one play – a 45-yard burst up the gut by Logwone Mitz. After the threes battled to a standstill, the one offense returned from the 25. James Montgomery right, touchdown. Before the offensive celebration had even quieted down, Marshall Lobbestael sold a play-action fake and found Karstetter behind Brandon Jones in the endzone. “You’re exactly right, execution,” coach Paul Wulff said of the offense’s morning. “They executed well and they seemed to be really consistent in their performance, which was good.”
• Other things happened during the full-pad workout, of course. … During a blocking drill with the wide receivers, coach Mike Levenseller was almost cut down and had to scramble – in his own way – away from the bag knocked down near his feet by Karstetter. … The quarterbacks did a new drill, with one quarterback standing back in the shotgun and taking quick snaps, hitting a different receiver running different patterns with five consecutive throws. … Reid Forrest punted once in the scrimmage, putting a punt from about the 40 out of bounds inside the 5-yard line. … Andy Mattingly put on shoulder pads and showed up for practice, but left quickly. The trainers want him to heal up more. The four receivers are still not ready, but watching them run it doesn’t look like their return is all that far away. … Wulff was asked a question about Cory Mackay, home in Redmond rehabbing from his back injury and subsequent surgery. “Cory has a life-long battle that we have to help him get through,” Wulff said of the paralysis Mackay’s trying to overcome. “It is his battle, but we are going to do everything in our power to help, whatever that needs to be. Right now it’s emotional support. Knowing we’re there for him and we are thinking about Cory all the time. He was a very good friend for lots of players on this football team so we’re excited to be part of his growth and watch him improve and develop. I think these can be exciting times by helping him and watching his improvement.”
• That’s what we have this morning. We’ll be back soon with more. Until then …