I arrived about halfway through practice, so I only caught a small portion. But here are some observations from practice and what the coaches had to say about it afterwards.
- It was quite the switch from spring ball to see six players out there in green jerseys at the Quarterback position. Throughout all of spring camp there were only three guys taking snaps. Now the Panthers have six guys available, though only three (Ronnie Bell, Kelton Hill, and Ben McLane) took reps on Tuesday during group drills.
- All of the QB's were very high at first. Danny Williams and Jordan Giles had some great catches on routes across the middle, but they had to go up to get them and likely would have been destroyed in a game situation.
- McLane was definitely the most accurate of the three.
- The defensive line looked very good. Nermin Delic and Theo Agnew are massive bodies ( Coach Midget said after practice that Delic is 290 and Agnew is at 280). Those two switched back and forth with each other at tackle and end, but both were consistently in the backfield. The issue with Delic in the past has been staying healthy. He was constantly stretching and staying limber when he wasn't in the game. If he is careful about that and is able to stay on the field, this could end up being one of the stronger units on the team. Playing on the other side was redshirt freshman David Huey and redshirt sophomore John Kelly.
- Staying with the defensive line, Joe Lockley is a massive man. He isn't particularly tall (listed at 6'1), but i have no trouble believing he is every bit of the 290 pounds he is listed at. He is so strong and is particularly athletic for his size. He will be an impact player as a Freshman.
- Melvin King, a true freshman defensive end, was the backup weakside end. He is very skinny for a defensive end, but you can tell how strong he is. He held his own for a few reps against starting right tackle Grant King, who outweighs im by about 70 pounds. He was quick enough to get to the outside of Grant on runs and was able to get some push at times when rushing the passer. If he is able to add about 20-25 pounds of muscle, he could be a dominant force.
- In a quick roster update, it looked like McClain Head was working primarily with the defensive ends now. The defensive tackles I saw were Woodard, Delic, Agnew, Huey, Stetzer, Sauls, and Davidson. CJ Stephens, King, Lockley, and Woodard made up the second string defensive line.
- The offensive line featured Michael Davis starting at center and Tim Wynn starting at left tackle. It will be interesting to see if true freshman Mark Ruskell gets many snaps at center of the next month or so. The first unit held up pretty well. I think Wynn could be very productive at left guard if they decide to start Davis at center.
- The running backs shined today. They really did a good job and broke some nice runs. Coach Bond noted after practice that there is a lot of competition for carries at running back and that is always good for development because it pushes guys to play harder. Evans and Lee had the best days out of all of them.
- The hurry up no huddle offense was in full effect today. They ran it almost exclusively and was effective at doing so. Right tackle Grant King mentioned at media day yesterday that this year's line being more athletic will allow them to wear their opponents down. Their conditioning will be key if the offense is going to continue with the no huddle.
- On the conditioning note, the players ended practice today by running sprints. While it may seem silly to read in to results of sprints at the end of a workout, it should be noted that of all the lineman (offense and defense) the starting five offensive lineman consistently finished first, followed quickly by true freshman Mark Ruskell. This is a testament to the work they put in this summer with Coach Pollard.
- After practice offensive coordinator John Bond spoke about how impressed he was with the retention level his quarterbacks displayed from the spring. He thought they had really bought in to what they had learned from the spring and it was refreshing to see them implement stuff that had been worked on previously. He also said that both quarterbacks (Hill and McLane) needed to be much more accurate.
- Bond was impressed with new transfer Ronnie Bell, saying that he was picking things up very quickly and that he definitely has the talent to make some noise in the quarterback competition. He also said he hopes to name a starting quarterback well before the opening game, which would be the first time the Panthers have done so.
- When asked about the offensive line he once again (broken record yet?) lauded their athleticism and said he will trade the athleticism of this group over having experience any time.
- Coach Midget said that he was impressed with the effort and attention to detail from his defense, but that it could definitely be better.
- Midget said he really feels like there is a lot of talent on the defensive line but that it really needs to start clicking her in the next couple of weeks.
- Midget singled out Akeen Felder's performance today, and said that he and D'mario Gunn will get the majority of the snaps at the Wolf position.
- Midget talked breifly about transfers Agnew and Delic and said the biggest thing they bring to GSU is size. He said Delic is at 290 and Agnew is about 280, and I honestly don't doubt that assesment. They are both monsters and Midget agreed they should make a huge impact this season.
Stay tuned throughout fall camp for all the latest coverage as Georgia State prepares for the 2012 season.