Only six more practices until the opener on Thursday, August 30 and there is becoming increasingly less to report. Most of the position battles are nearing a conclusion, and many of the starters are now known. We combine today's practice report with a short interview with Andre Revels.
-The QB rotation changed slightly today with Ben Mauk followed by Pike, Grutza and Carey. Mauk has been receiving a lot of attention from Coach Kelly during the last two practices, and no one knows offense better than Coach Kelly. But if I were making the starting quarterback pick, I'd probably pick Pike.
-Bearcat receiver Orion Woodard would like to drop the O.J. He says everyone back in
-Jared Martin tried to practice today but struggled again. Jared has a lot of potential, but he needs to get and stay healthy.
-One of the surprises to me was seeing true freshman San Griffin running with the #2 offensive line at left tackle. Sam has done a remarkable job this summer despite easily being the lightest of the freshmen linemen. Sam weighs only 242 pounds, but he has shown excellent feet, strength and balance in drills. He is the only freshman offensive linemen not to be on the scout team. Sam stands about 6' 5" and has been assigned to sit with Jason Kelce at dinner time and model his eating habits.
-Speaking of the scout team, I gave the defensive scout team yesterday, but there seems to have already been a change. Today I saw John Hughes (DT) with the scout team, and Marcus Waugh (DT) getting some reps with the #2 defense.
-The offensive scout team included the other freshman offensive linemen: Craig Parmenter, T. J. Franklin, Alex Hoffman, Blake McCroskey, and Frank Becker. Taylor Porter also was with the group. They were joined by Chazz Anderson (QB), Zach Collaros (QB), Joey Thomas (WR), Tahree McQueen (WR), Adrien Robinson (WR), Tomaz Hilton (WR), John Goebel (RB) and Montez Patterson (RB).
-Freshman Drew Frey (S) sustained a shoulder injury prior to Saturday's scrimmage and will probably need surgery.
-Jeff Linkenbach returned to the #1 right tackle spot as his battle with Kahlil El-Amin continues to seesaw, and Chris Jurek and Jason Kelce continue to battle for that starting center job. Jurek started the day at center until a bad snap gave Kelce the spot.
-Jon Carpenter was at the #1 "will" linebacker position, but that was primarily due to Corey Smith's being ill.
-If Sam Griffin is the offensive surprise, I'd say Justin Moore is the defensive surprise. The Colerain kid did not play football last season but has managed to stay off the scout team for now and could even see special team action.
-Haruki Nakamura picked up another interception on a tipped ball thrown by Ben Mauk. Nakamura has to be leading the team in interceptions this summer.
-With Jared Martin unable to practice lately, Charley Howard continues to make the most of his opportunity. I thought the 6' 3" redshirt sophomore with 4.63 forty speed caught the ball well again today.
-The two placekickers (Jake Rogers and Brandon Yingling) each were
perfect with their field goals today, but I'd have to give Yingling the edge in
kickoffs because he kept both in play.
Each place kicker got two kickoffs.
-Gino Guidugli had some time away from his job in the Canadian Football League and came to UC's practice to visit with his brother Ben.
-The word around Higher Ground was that the Bearcats will return next year and probably stay closer to two weeks. This year's stint was 10 days.
-Tomorrow will probably be my last practice report for the summer. The squad will not practice Thursday or Friday.
To wrap things up today, here is what Andre Revels had to say after practice. When asked about his summer practice performance, he replied. "I really don't think about it. It's really not about my performance; it's about the team's performance."
Where does he need to improve? "I think I need more knowledge of the game and the system. I need to know more about what to do and when to make the right checks."
Comparing last year's defense to this year's version. "The old defense we usually were in one position all the time. We didn't have to slide across formations, but now we have to be versatile to move to either side of the ball."
About competition between Andre and Ryan Manalac for the starting MLB spot. "We actually help each other out a lot. If he sees something, he lets me know. If I see something, I let him know. We coach each other in film. We both help each other. It doesn't really matter who's #1 and who's #2. It matters whether or not we're winning."
About getting interceptions in practice. "I really haven't had any except in the 7-on-7. I've mostly been tipping balls to Ruk (Haruki Nakamura). That's why Haruki has about a million. I told him he owes me some money."
When asked about his height and weight, Andre would not answer, but I have it on very good authority that he is 6' and 228 pounds with a 4.89 forty.
What about those Popeye sized arms? "I never thought I was that big in that area, but everyone else says that."
Next Thursday's opener will be Andre's third as a Bearcat. He was asked if they'll be anything different about his one. "I should actually be able to do something in this one."