That is what jumps out immediately with this Washington Team. With a backfield of Devon Smith (PSU) and Caleb Porzel (Maryland) there is no doubt about the big play capability. Smith looks incredible with his vision and cutting ability without losing a step. Porzel adds a little more power and got behind the defense from slot receiver whenever he wanted it seemed. Not to be out done Tom Chroniger (QB, Eastern Michigan) showed good feet in the pocket and on the run. The defense showed flashes off speed themselves with Darrell Givens (CB, Penn State), Jelani Jenkins (LB), Gary Fortune (CB) and underrated John Darr (LB) leading the way. After practice, Jenkins and Porzel were heard commenting between themselves about the speed in practice from this team.
Nothing Easy, Not Even for Teammates
The big hit of the day was teammate on teammate. Not only teammates for this game but Wheaton (MD) Good Counsel High School teammates were the center of the biggest collision. Caleb Porzel fumbled a pitch on a sweep that bounced and rolled behind him about seven yards. As he picked it the whistle blew just as the human missile, Jelani Jenkins, crushed Porzel with a helmet to helmet blow, knocking Porzel on his back. To his credit he got back up without missing a rep. Jelani, as he was through all the matchup drills, was all business getting back to the huddle for the next play. He raised the intensity bar from the beginning and stayed intense throughout.
Shutting Them Down
Darrell Givens and Gary Fortune made big plays shutting down the WRs on play after play. Most of the deep balls were from the slot on Safetys. Both Givens and Fortune had great back pedals and breaks on the ball. Givens was also very physical at the line of scrimmage on bump and run coverage and through the receivers out of rhythm. Fortune relied on his great burst to the ball to disrupt the passing. The matchup with the highly regarded and big Baltimore Team receivers (Alec Lemon 6'2", Syracuse, Sean Farr 6'3" and Brandon Floyd 6'2") should be a good one on Saturday.
Underrated But Impressive
Unheralded Forestville (MD) Suitland High School LB John Darr stood out on more than one occasion. He has good vision and scrapes down the line well. He has a knack for getting to the hole square and meeting the running back and when John Darr meets the running back the ball is going backward. He has very good technique and drives through his tackles. Not getting much attention from FBS (formerly D-IA) schools currently, this week of practice and game Saturday could open some opportunities if he stays consistent.
Chemistry Is There
It is obvious that this team already has good chemistry amongst the players and coaches. The practice was lively with a lot of chatter and good natured ribbing from both sides. The coaches ended practice letting the team whoop it up while watching a couple head to head reps to end practice. The players stayed after talking and joking until the lights literally shut off finally sending the final few players (and media) scrambling to gather their stuff and go.