Busy day for me, just taking a quick moment to share some thoughts and observations on the day. Even though it was early it was still really hot out there, especially on the field. Guys were pretty worn down, I think they have the rest of today to re charge which is good. There were a handful of guys that suited up but did not play like Jamaal Jones and Taylor Walcott. Oiland, one of the Hines brothers (#65) are still out, as well as two other Oline guys, I think Deitrich and Weyer. That left the Oline a little thin. The starting group was Schmaing at tackle, Poole at guard (yep), Hines (#66) at center, Pohels at guard, and Kistler at center. TraVon Van was out, Clay Pierson was out, Gavin Hagfors I think was also out. On the defensive side I know Josh Dennard was out and the younger Mick Delaney was out as well as Steven Rominger. As I understand many of these players who are out were because of some more minor things. TraVon is the one that worries me the most.
My general/quick observations:
– The kicking game all around was very much improved. The opening drills showed Lider, Worst, and Greenberg all hitting most of their kicks. What I’ve noticed is that each has their own holder and I believe the Billings WR, Ryan Burke, is the short-snapper and that’s worked wonders with the snaps and holds. Cam Warren holds for Lider, Shay Smithwick for Greenberg, and Hermey for Worst. Greenberg had a very good day, his power has improved as he hit two near-50 yard fieldgoals. Lider I think still has the better overall leg strength however he did miss one wide (might have missed two I’ll have to double check). Worst has the best trajectory off his foot, all are high end over end kicks but has a little less power.
– Jordy lead one very good drive which featured finding an open Ellis Henderson for 41 yards. Other than that Jordy’s drives were stopped with steady consistency by the defense.
– The reason why most were stopped was the rush defense. This scrimmage was probably a 2:1 ratio of run vs pass and the front 7 came to play. I think they only gave up one run over 10 yards and consistently stopped ball carriers for 1 or 2 yard gains. Counts, Canada, Miles, or Favors – it didn’t matter. The D-ends (all four, Wags, Holmes, Peevey, and Holmes) were cutting off outside lanes and the linebackers were cleaning it up. JP the most, I think he had multiple TFLs. Also a good sign in the running game was Goodwin and Murray coming up and challenging the runners making a few stops each to keep a running play at 3 or 4 yards.
– Two interceptions today, Tucker Schye’s he fell into zone coverage and Gustafson did not see him, threw right at him for an easy pick which Schye turned into a touchdown. Jordy threw one as well which Jordan Tripp snagged and returned 31 yards. That one JJ was flushed out of the pocket and Tripp was trailing upfield about 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
– The fullback we have from Boise, man that guy is a load of bricks. Put a few guys on their backs maybe the more impressive hit was on a special teams drill where he smacked a linebacker so hard it rolled the guy over backwards. He does have a nose for connecting with the 1st would-be tackler, our running backs are going to love this guy.
– 2nd string Oline was a bit of a mess with a few of their guys out, QBs had steady pressure.
– Right now it looks like Smithwick-Hann has the leg-up on Mikinney for 2nd string QB.
– Some younger defensive secondary guys made a few plays, JR Nelson had a nice break up on a pass, Gamboa and Whitted a few good tackles.
– Maybe the best play of the scrimmage was JJ picking up a 3rd and 10 to Marq Rogers. Jordy put it just a little high and in a tight window, Rogers goes up, gets it, takes a brutal shot from Whitted and hangs on. He’s making the most of what he’s been given, this guy keeps impressing me.
Concerns that I saw:
– Stephen Shaw’s punts weren’t as good when he had a punt rush on him, a few shanks.
– The amount of guys out right now, hopefully they work their way back in this week.
– Run blocking overall (kind of hard to say though, either the Oline run blocks well or the Dline/LBs defend it well)
– Lack of focus/intensity at times. Lots of walking, some mental errors, JJ had two snaps go through his hands, personnel issues at times, coaches having to grab “just anybody” for one fieldgoal attempt to block the edge. Stuff like that, regardless how tired and worn all those guys are shouldn’t be happening.
Good day for the defense, I think it’s a good indicator that our run D is solid and not just with our starting group but with the backups too. Offense needs to pick it up some more.