USAAB East Session Three Practice Report
Brice Butler
Brice Butler
Regional Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jan 1, 2008

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Tuesday morning practice was more relaxed and held in uppers and shorts. Practice saw a lot of special teams and offense as they were the priority. Some players that struggled yesterday seemed to be more relaxed and played a lot better.

Chicago defensive end Darius Fleming, Detroit running back Jonas Gray and Florida cornerback T.J. Bryant sat out the morning session with injuries.

Practice started out with special teams with DeAndre Brown and Lamar Thomas handling kick return duties. Then DeVier Posey and Boubacar Cissoko rotated in. John Goodman was the holder for PAT’s and field goals.

Quarterbacks: Early on in practice Star Jackson asserted himself as the best throwing QB of the morning session, but he began to struggle as practice continued. Terrelle Pryor showed great touch and accuracy on his deep passes while throwing into the wind. Pryor had the chance to run in practice and began to showcase the skills that make him the nation’s No. 1 quarterback.

Running backs: Ryan Williams started to take command of the starting running back spot taking advantage of the Gray injury situation. He showed very good shiftiness and made several good cuts. Lamar Thomas had the practice’s first fumble but then redeemed himself with the longest run from scrimmage by a running back so far (40 yards).

Wide Receivers: DeAndre Brown continued to look like the East squad’s most impressive offensive weapon. He tested his ability against five-star cornerback Boubacar Cissoko and beat him several times by using his height to his advantage. Jonathan Baldwin continued to beat almost every East defensive back despite a nagging groin injury. Baldwin also out leaped Cissoko twice for long touchdown catches. In addition, he also beat Darius Barksdale on a long touchdown pass. John Goodman looked good all day until the last 15 minutes of practice when he dropped four passes in a row. He looked at his hands in disbelief to make sure they still worked. On the next play from scrimmage, he had the best catch of practice so far as he out leaped Barksdale, bobbled the ball four times and came down with it in the endzone. Brice Butler continued to show is the most polished receiver here, he is like watching Jerry Rice in high school football. He is very fundamentally sound and does everything by the book. After a great Monday performance, Kenny Tate seemed to have a case of the dropsies and didn’t look sharp at all.

Tight Ends: Kyle Rudolph continued to show why he was the No. 1 tight end in the nation when he caught a screen pass and raced 40 yards downfield to the endzone. Jake Stoneburner looked a lot faster today than he did yesterday and displayed the hands we are used to seeing.

Offensive Line: Lane Clelland was playing offensive tackle. A.J. Harmon kept up practice with the same intensity he had yesterday and was unbeatable in one-on-one drills. Barrett Jones looked pretty good in one-on-ones and it will be interesting to see how he plays as a center on Saturday. Lucas Nix showed well in the live scrimmage portion of the practice and had a couple of good sealed blocks on the linebackers. He seems to be acclimating himself well to the new position. Josh Jenkins had a much better practice and seemed head and shoulders better than where he was a day ago.

Defensive Line: William Green and Marcus Fortson were unstoppable again in on-on-ones. Fortson was a dominant run stopper in the scrimmage portion of the practice and Green was in the backfield chasing the quarterback and running backs. During the scrimmage, Quinton Coples and Shayne Hale had their most impressive performances. Hale stuffed several running plays and pressured the quarterback, Coples had a sack and batted down two passes. Reggie Ellis spent a lot of time lining up at defensive end.

Linebackers: Nigel Bradham, Arthur Brown and Etienne Sabino looked to be the most active linebackers. They made a ton of plays and took most of the reps at the three linebacker spots. Arthur Brown showed fantastic foot speed that drew rave reviews from a few of the East linemen including Josh Jenkins who said, “That Arthur Brown is the truth. I went to block him once and he was gone. So I pretty much gave up since I couldn’t get him.” Lerentee McCray physically looks like a safety, has been very active on special teams.

Defensive Backs: Darius Barksdale had easily his best practice of the week so far. He made several plays and showed great cover skills. He got beat a few times but was in perfect coverage, he just got out leaped by bigger, taller receivers. He matched up against Brice Butler a few times and simply beat him. Robert Blanton showed great closing speed, needs to work a little bit on his hips, but should become a great defensive back at the next level. He rotated between safety and corner during practice this morning. Boubacar Cissoko had an up and down morning. He made a few great plays, especially against Posey, but was also beaten more times today than in the past. Brandon Smith continued to be the verbal leader of the East squad. He also had our quote of the day when Terrelle Pryor tried to stiff arm Smith, he turned to him and said, “Na-uh Prypr, no stiff arm over here baby boy.”

The afternoon session was only an hour long and was just special teams play.

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