Date: March 8.
Practice number: 4.
Duration: A little over 2 hours. Practice went for 22 periods of five minutes apiece.
Location: Byrd Stadium.
Dress code: Full pads.
Injured and out: LB Alex Twine (labrum), CB Jarrett Ross (labrum), DL Kingsley Opara (labrum), DL Ty Tucker (ACL), WR Deon Long (broken leg), WR Stefon Diggs (broken leg), LB Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (pectoralis), S Elvis Dennah (toe), S Milan Collins (toe), OL Derwin Gray (shoulder).
Yellow jerseys: None.
Limited: CB Jeremiah Johnson (toe), WR DeAndre Lane (hamstring), LB Matt Robinson (arm), DB Rashid Conteh (unknown), WR Marcus Leak (hamstring).
Disciplinary issues: None.
Wide receiver Malcolm Culmer was seen limping into the locker room and later returned to the exercise bike after getting nicked up during a drill. Several other players received similar small injuries, which seemed to irk Coach Randy Edsall.
“We’ve got some guys, they’ve got to understand, there’s a sense of urgency here,” he said “You’ve got 15 practices . You want to take yourself out because you’ve got a little tweak here, a little tweak there, all you’re doing is giving somebody else an opportunity to sneak ahead of you. If they want to do that, that’s fine. We’ve got enough depth that if you want to do that, you’ll be standing on the sidelines.”
>> Though the atmosphere was spirited, with players bounding around and whooping it up after big plays, Edsall emerged displeased with how his team’s fourth spring practice – and second in two days – unfolded.
“Well I didn’t think today was very good,” he said. “Was not pleased with the consistency on either side of the ball. We’ve just got to keep getting better. The consistency is nowhere near where we need to be and there’s got to be more of a sense of urgency to things. I told them, you get 15 practices, this is practice number four. Everyone’s getting reps. Everyone’s getting an opportunity. There’s some guys who are doing the things that we want done. Other guys aren’t. This is a time for them to show that they’ve got and where they want to be on the depth chart at the end of spring. Today was not a good day and it wasn’t consistent enough for what our standards are here.”
>> The afternoon closed with a two-minute team drill and the offense marched down the field three times to score touchdowns.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Taivon Jacobs caught a deep ball from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe on the second team, and burned his defender so badly that, before the pass was even thrown, someone on the sidelines said, “Touchdown.” Wide receiver Daniel Adams also made a nice catch, tiptoeing to stay inbounds, but later dropped a surefire touchdown in the end zone. The second team scored when running back Albert Reid bulldozed his way through a hole.
The third team was aided by a big rush from fourth-string quarterback Shane Cockerille, but the coaches got on him for not running out of bounds in the late situation. It ultimately didn’t matter, because running back Jacquille Veii juked his way for a long touchdown on a screen pass.
>> With about a half-hour left in practice, Diggs and Long jogged onto the field together in full pads and joined the wide receivers at the far end. They only watched but were vocal in instructing their younger teammates.
“The big thing for those two guys, they’ve got to do a great job mentally,” Edsall said. “They can’t be doing things out here from a physical standpoint but they should be the smartest guys we have because they should be doing so much work mentally in terms of understanding things. Those are the standards that we have for them, to be the smartest guys about everything that’s going on because they’ve got to double their mental capacity because they can’t be out here doing the physical stuff.”
>> Edsall said it is still too early to judge the competition for starting left guard between Evan Mulrooney and Silvano Altamirano.
“Only two days in pads,” he said. “It’s one of those situations that we’ll sit down after Wednesday’s practice and talk more about things and maybe formulate some things as we go into the last nine practices. Guys just competing, but nowhere near where those two guys need to be yet. They’re competing and you can see the technique is getting better.”
>> Linebacker Matt Robinson suffered a minor injury during Friday’s practice and wasn’t cleared by team doctors to go Saturday, so he spent the afternoon pulling sleds and other individual workouts behind the end zone near Gossett Team House.
“He got hit there, caused a little bit of a Charlie horse in his arm or whatever,” Edsall said. “I’m not too concerned about it. We need to get him back out there because he needs a lot of work too.”
As for the other linebackers, Edsall said their biggest area of weakness right now is “eye discipline.”
“They’ve got to get better at their reads and seeing things,” he said.
The next open practice will be Monday at 9 a.m.