Sat., Oct. 18, 2014
Keith Harrington, running back
Freshman running back Squally Canada was one of the players absent during today's football practice. So during the Cougars' third and final Thursday Night Football scrimmage of the week, Keith Harrington got all the work between the tackles.
He's doing so well that running backs coach Jim Mastro won't give him back to the receivers. Mike Leach wouldn't go so far as to make the switch permanent for the receiver, who did play running back in high school, but admitted that "we're heading in that direction."
More on today's practice is after the jump.
Harrington actually appeared to be a little under the weather as practice began, but showed no signs of sickness once the underclassmen scrimmage started. He's only 5-foot-7, 174 pounds but the Florida native did quite a bit of work between the tackles, getting two or three yards often but occasionally breaking one for more, such as his five-yard score for the scrimmage's first touchdown.
His best run came towards the end of the scrimmage, when he broke three or four tackles up the middle and weaved his way to the left sideline, eventually getting forced out of bounds near the end zone after gaining around 40 yards, causing players and coaches to crowd the back and momentarily halt the scrimmage while they celebrated.
Still, the defense appeared to have the better day. Both Luke Falk and Peyton Bender's passing numbers were down on Saturday thanks to a number of drops by the receivers, many of which were prompted by the physical play of the defense.
The defense's biggest play came on fourth-and-one when linebacker Gavin Newsome stepped in front of a receiver on a sideline throw and intercepted Falk's pass for what would certainly have been a touchdown. Newsome made another big play near the end of the scrimmage, sniffing out a short pass and blowing up Dewan Lee Thompson for a three-yard loss.
Hercules Mata'afa had another good day rushing the passer, and Barry Ware continues to be a big factor on offense, even if he had a couple of the aforementioned drops.
Both Ware and Gabe Marks dropped deep passes that would given the offense a much better outing. Marks left his man in the dust on a deep route but had to slow down because Falk's pass was slightly underthrown. With the defender almost to him it looked like he lost focus as the ball arrived and the ball bounced off his hands.
Kristoff Williams, Daquawn Brown and Rickey Galvin were all back for the regular portion of Saturday's practice and were not limited. Canada, Charleston White, Toni Pole, Calvin Green and Darius Lemora did not appear to be at practice, while Riley Sorenson, Sulaiman Hameed, Nick Begg, Mack Hopkins, Isaac Dotson, Nate DeRider and Drew Springfield were limited.
Cornerback Kevin Griffing saw some time with the twos at cornerback and Jacob Seydel saw time with the ones at right guard after playing with the starters at left guard during Thursday's practice.
David Bucannon had a nice interception of Connor Halliday in 7-on-7 and Paris Taylor batted a Connor Ennis pass in the air and came down with it for an interception.