The morning session was the most spirited thus far. The offense and the defense traded verbal and physical shots, with the offense showing toughness and a backbone. It was especially impressive to see the rush offense win the goal-line war. Backs Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Cedric Peerman were able to break the plane.
Here are other key observations and notes from today’s morning session:
· Formations and Fronts: It was the return of the unbalanced alignment during 11-on-11 drills. The two bookend tackles took turns motioning from left-to-right and right-to-left. Of the two, Oher moved around more, starting out on the left next to Gaither, only to move back to balance on the right side.
Out wide, the bunch formation was featured heavily, with a tailback positioned behind two receivers to act as an underneath target.
· Who Stood Out?
– Demetrius Williams: Spiderman put on a web-slinging show in front of a boisterous crowd. Williams was impressive during 10-on-10 drills, snagging every ball thrown his way, even if he had to contort his body to adjust to the ball. The most impressive reception came in the end zone, versus cornerback Chris Carr. Williams used a juke move to shake free of Carr’s jam attempt, and then made a one-handed, fingertip grab while tapping both feet.
– Tavares Gooden: The second year player from the U has a nose for the ball. He closes on ball carriers in a hurry. There were two different instances in which Gooden was able to fly from the opposite end of the field to help make a tackle.
– Dawan Landry: Landry got a lot of work at the inside linebacker position in the defensive sub packages. He was primarily responsible for blitzing off of the left side.
· Scouting the Rookies
o Michael Oher: As a pass blocker, Oher moves effortlessly. He was consistently able to slide to pick up the edge rushers, even when those defenders came on a delayed blitz. Oher displayed good knee bend and was quick out of his stance. It appears that he will be able to cut off the speed rush without help from an extra blocker. When Oher struggled in pass protection, it was because he was too high in his stance. In the running game, Oher was able to stay low and move the pile. There was a particular play in which Oher was able to take down two linemen off of an angle block – one of whom was Trevor Pryce. Perhaps the most impressive attribute that Oher possesses is the strength in hands. He has a vice-like grip.
Other Rookie Notes
– Oher was active as a puller on pitch plays off of the right side.
– Cedric Peerman received a healthy dose of carriers, especially during the goal-line drills. On his lone touchdown score, Peerman did a nice job of leaning forward and pushing the pile.