The morning started out with my walking up the ramp to the Angels, with the intention of scoring a roster. I walked up, put my game face on, and the lady stared right through me like I wasn't even there. I did not get a roster.
Anyway, I made due. The first hour was worthless in terms of current players. You can't learn anything from warmups, unless you're AlanZ, and if you actually enjoy watching that shit then you need your head checked.
Any fun I did have in the first 45 minutes was centered entirely around getting as close as I've ever been to Geoff Ketchum's earring, and trying to figure out who the recruits in attendance were. Johnathan Miller sported easily the nicest hair of the bunch, and his dad, and I mean this as a compliment, looked like he slung rock in the 70s. If I had to pick one recruit's dad to back me in a fight, I'm taking Mr. Miller, easy. Tough looking dude who knew how to dress.
Kenny Hyder and Jeremy Moore were there decked entirely in purple. Gotta like the school pride, even if it is LBJ school pride.
Roderick Goodlow was wearing a Bill Cosby sweater vest, and spent a few moments lingering in front of a large crowd looking like he wanted to be recognized. I can't verify that, but I can verify that the man knows his sweater vests.
Ryan Swope is from Westlake. How can I tell? Blonde hair dovetailing out from under a baseball hat. I bet he drives a Yukon, too.
Austin Moss made me question my sexuality. That kid will not have any problems pulling in trim at whichever school gets him. He has an underwear model's body. I don't think I can root for this kid, comfortably anyway.
Recruits aside (they all took off via bus before the good parts of practice anyway), the first thing I saw when I got there was the OL, since I was standing up at the top field.
Huey has either lost weight or moved it to the right places, as he's definitely looking a lot better than last year. Burnette is still heavy, especially in his thighs and midsection. Allen and McGaskey both looked great. Hall and Tanner are still too small. But they were starting so what do I know? The starters were Allen-Tanner-Hall-Huey-Hix.
The QBs and WRs ran a bunch of routes vs. air, and all it proved was that Phillip Payne has hands of stone. I'll chalk it up to a bad day since I've never seen him before and it's a new position, but if he puts up another day or two like this one, you can pretty much write off Brock Fitzhenry as the next Wes Welker. If his name weren't burned into my brain I would not have been able to tell him from the walkons.
After that mildly interesting part, they moved to 1 on 1s, the best part of the show. And let me impart three truths to your eyeballs:
1. Ben Wells is the fucking truth. Never forget this.
2. Brandon Collins is the best WR on the team at this juncture. He is a carbon copy of pre-injury Shipley, right down the the way he snatches the ball out of the air. I had to see it before I believed it, and I believe it.
3. Malcolm Williams had a surprisingly strong day. Probably doesn't start if we play tomorrow but he's easily the first one off the bench.
As for the rest of the group, there were ups and downs from everyone other than Beasley, who pretty much pwn3d all day. You can really only tell two things from these practices, when a player is either consistently good or consistently bad, and only a few players landed in either category:
Good - Wells, Beasley, Collins, M. Williams, Shipley, Chy. Brown
Bad - Fitzhenry, Kinne, Payne
And that's it. Everybody else earns an incomplete. If a pass was overthrown by 5 yards, it was a pretty safe bet you would look back to the huddle and see Kinne walking back. At some point you have to not worry about hitting the WR in the hands, just hitting him at all. I would say it's pretty safe to write him off at this point.
Payne, despite struggling all day, did somehow end up making the play of the day. He juked somebody while somehow only covering 2 yards, then managed to pluck a ball up from inches off the ground drawing a deserved smattering of applause. I think his next attempt hit off his facemask.
I didn't get to watch Earl Thomas as closely as I wanted because it took too long to figure out what number he was (thanks Texas Angels), but once I figured out who he was I saw him get roasted by Shipley twice in a row. He did well enough on everybody else though, and he was in the starting lineup again with Wells to start team drills. I expect that combo to run through the spring as the starters.
Chykie Brown was only doing things well when I watched him. His celebration after one break up looked like he was grabbing his balls while taking a dump. I can get behind that. He was really on his guy every snap and showed really good ball skills. He really has great speed to be able to run with guys like that despite looking for the ball, and he really displayed a lot better field awareness than I thought he would. I hope the coaches can fit the scheme around him this year, instead of vice versa. If I have to watch the CB equivalent of Eric Hall just because Chykie doesn't always know where to stand, then my head might explode.
Speaking of the CB version of Eric Hall, Ryan Palmer managed to sandwich in one good play in between a bunch of mediocrity. He is, depending on how good the injured Curtis Brown is, our 4th best corner. We really couldn't find someone else to start last year? Really?
The highlight of the practice for me was the matchup between Blake Gideon and Brock Fitzhenry. Blake dominated the early matchup while all the Texas fans stared at the ground and shuffled their feet uncomfortably, only a few managing to sputter praise under their breath.
The OL and RBs won't show anything until pads come on. Fozzy Whitaker made a really nice catch on a wheel route, and if he can prove to be a weapon in the passing game then he's almost got to be the backup.
The defense mostly practiced down at the far end, to be dicks I presume, so obviously I didn't really get to see anything there outside of the DBs. I was really interested in seeing what type of scheme we'd run, but the only thing I could make out from Idiotfanville was the D working on some alignment and man coverage responsibility stuff. We did seem to be running a lot of nickel, if that means anything.
A few stray thoughts to tie it up:
Ryan Swope had a crush on his hostess. I learned this because his mom told her.
I think Charlie Tanner is as big as he's ever going to get. We may have another Dallas Griffin situation. For all the hoopla over our recruiting the undersized, quick-footed kids, our best guys sure do seem to be the all-everything big strong guys. We just switched the Terrance Youngs for the Charlie Tanners.
Dan Buckner isn't playing this year.
I'm concerned about Chiles. He has a lot of arm action going on, but he still has the quickest release on the team, I'd say. The problem is that all of that arm speed is being wasted. I didn't watch him throw a whole ton, but he seems like he has the Quincy Carter syndrome where the QB throws the ball more like a baseball than a football. His passes just seem to die halfway to where they're going and there isn't much spin on the ball. Harris throws a much nicer ball, by comparison. I don't think it's an athletic thing, so it must be mechanical. My best guess based on watching him throw a dozen passes from 40 yards away is that he's using too much shoulder and not enough wrist. He isn't "snapping" the ball. Like I said, is arm speed isn't the issue. I'm no QB expert, but that is my guess.
There is accurate, then there is NFL accurate. Colt is accurate.
Oh, and play of the day #2 was a really impressive catch by Malcolm Williams on the sideline, nabbing a high pass while being draped in coverage. You can't really get much out of one good play here and there, but it did top off a really nice day for him. He looked really comfortable out there.
I got some pictures on my phone and I will try to add them.