A layer of smoke from nearby wildfires filtered into the Lewiston on Tuesday as the Cougars took the Sacjawea Junior High field for day No. 5 of preseason camp. The daily observations and notes are below.
Observations and notes
– This was the first time in full pads for the Cougars this fall – and it felt like it. The speed of play went up a few notches, as did the intensity. A few smaller scuffles broke out through the course of the practice and there was some post-play pushing and shoving betwen Keith Harrington and a few members of the defense when they stopped the running back on the final play of the team period.
– In the avoid/make-or-miss drill usually conducted after the team period, receiver Dezmon Patmon plowed over freshman defensive back Tyrese Ross and offered a few words while Ross was on the ground.
– All of that led up to the final altercation. Senior corner Darrien Molton took a swing at freshman receiver Kassidy Woods after a duel in make-or-miss. Woods hit back and teammates rushed in from either side to join the scrum. After about a minute, the sides broke and the practice ended.
– Mike Leach is generally OK with the skirmishes throughout practice – they happen everywhere in the country during this stage of August – as long as they don’t waste time. In a team huddle afterward, he called Tuesday’s session “a very competitive practice.”
– For the first time this camp, Leach repped three quarterbacks, instead of two. He said he’d decided to go that route the night before and would probably do the same on Wednesday. Anthony Gordon, Trey Tinsley and Gardner Minshew were the QBs of choice Tuesday, taking turns in the skeleton drill and team period.
– It was pointed out to me that Tinsley had been repped more than the other three (Cammon Cooper being the third) to this point. Indeed, although it’s probably not worth reading into. But, since we’re there already, Tinsley’s been highlighted four of the days, Gordon and Minshew in three and Cooper in just one. (More on the QBs in the section below)
– It seems like the Cougars are fully committed to a traditional style of punting this year, rather than flipping back and forth between the traditional punter and the rugby punter. Oscar Draguicevich and Oliver Graybar appear to be the two choices for not, but it’s unclear if one has the advantage over the other.
– The Cougars haven’t gone away from their starting five offensive linemen, but a good number of linemen are getting work during the team period. When starting center Fred Mauigoa isn’t in, it’s typically been redshirt freshman Brian Greene. Christian Haangana, who Leach said had the most productive offseason in the weight room of any O-linemen, played a bunch of snaps at right guard today.
– Defensive linemen Nnamdi Oguayo and Derek Moore didn’t attend Tuesday’s practice. Oguayo missed Monday’s practice, too, and Moore left that same workout early. Of the D-linemen, Leach said “They’re great.”
– Wide receiver Kyle Sweet was a non-participant Tuesday. Running back Max Borghi and Nickel Kedron Williams both wore yellow no-contact jerseys again. Defensive lineman LaMonte McDougle did not participate in full.
– The Cougars now have just one more day of full-pads work in Lewiston. They’re scheduled to hold a “varsity short” practice on Thursday ahead of Friday’s scrimmage, which I’ve been led to believe will start sometime after 7:30 p.m. at Martin Stadium.
Keeping up with the QBs
Anthony Gordon: I wasn’t able to track Gordon’s team period series in its entirety, but the redshirt junior was 7-for-8 while I was watching. Although, the first play of his series I saw was a Will Rodgers sack and the first pass attempt was an interception. Freshman nickel Patrick Nunn cut in front of Gordon’s intended target, Renard Bell, and came up an underthrown pass before taking it the other way. Gordon bounced back well, though, and he floated his next pass over the top of the defense and into the outstretched arms of Tay Martin for a 35-yard touchdown. He hit his next four passes and found Jamire Calvin for an 8-yard touchdown before firing to Brandon Arconado for a 5-yard TD on the very next play.
Trey Tinsley: The first pass of Tinsley’s series was a 65-plus yard touchdown to Easop Winston that required the QB to fit his pass between safety Deion Singleton and cornerback Armani Marsh. Two plays later, Tinsley squeezed a throw between Hicks and Dillon Sherman for a 15 or so yard gain to Jamire Calvin. Then the redshirt junior unleashed an absolute missile down the left sideline to Tay Martin, who got a step on William Overstreet and pulled the ball in for a 50-yard touchdown. Tinsley proceeded to complete his next two passes before finally cooling down – and really cooling down. He threw incomplete on his next five, arguably six passes – Martin may have barely slipped his toe into the back of the end zone on the sixth – and threw over the WR’s head on three of those. After the 6-of-6 start, Tinsley finished 6-of-12, or 7-of-12, if we’re counting the pass to Martin as a completion.
Gardner Minshew: Minshew was up and down, hot and cold – however you want to put it – just like the other two. After being “sacked” by Misi Aiolupotea-Pea on his first play, he responded with five straight completions. Minshew also threw his first interception of fall camp, though the ball bounced off Bell’s palms before falling to Hicks. On the the third to last play of his series, Minshew did well to gather a botched snap from his center and dash ahead into the end zone. Who knows if it would’ve ended that way in a real game, but the QB showed decisiveness if nothing else. Minshew finished the series completing 8-of-11 passes.
Cammon Cooper: After getting some work Monday, Cooper was the only QB who didn’t rep in the skeleton/team periods Tuesday.
“I’m actually playing all across the board right now. I’ve lined up at nose (tackle), I’ve lined up at D-tackle, I’ve lined up at D-end, I stood up at Rush (linebacker) a couple times. I’m just trying to give my team whatever we need to win and I’m going to play whatever they need to play. I’m a football player at the end of the day, if they tell me to play safety, I’m going to go out there and play safety.” – Will Rodgers on his defensive versatility.
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