Spring Practice Update: Friday 4/4

Spring Practice Update: Friday 4/4

It was a cold and rainy afternoon outside in Evanston, but the Thunder and Lightning wasn't confined to the outside...<br><br> Here are a few notes about what we saw happen as the Cats had their first day in helmets and pads...

For Starters:
There are quite a number of orange jerseys out there - Pat Durr is the most prominent, although there were a couple of big guys like Joe Tripodi and Scott Crohn hobbling around on crutches in football pants and helmets. They did not do any of the drills, although Pat Durr was running some conditioning exercises on the sideline.
Offense
1. The Cats need work at center - there were a couple of times the ball went way over the QB's head on shotgun plays. After practice, Coach Walker told us that if there's a concern on offense, center is where its at.

2. The Cats primary offensive line was [left to right] Zach Strief, Matt Ulrich, Jim Devine, Bill Newton, and Rick McDole during most of the main offensive practices. They did a really good job keeping the rush out of the backfield, but - see the defensive notes below.

3. The Tight Ends, Ray Bogenrief, Taylor Jones and Sean Mansfield got a lot of work over the middle. Several long completions to the TE. They really worked the linebackers yesterday.

4. We will have as good a WR corps in the Big 10 as anyone - these guys can flat our run. The QBs don't wear numbers so its hard to say who is throwing but this year's team should stretch the field.

5.Just an observation - this is one fast team.

Defense
1. A good office pool would be "Pick the 2003 Linebackers." We saw at least 3 sets going Friday, and 3 of the best are wearing orange shirts.

2. NU was running a 3-3-5 defense with Luis Castillo at Nose Guard/Tackle. Loren Howard was on the right and Greg Lutzen and Demaris Wilson played on the left.

3. The 5 D-Backs did a pretty good job of breaking up the NU passing game - the 3-3 front takes a little pressure off the O-Line, but the big guys had to hustle to keep the defenders out.

4. Yes, Jeff Backes looks "green" at CB - but he's not making typical first year player mistakes - and his speed lets him make up for any miscues. Coach Jerry Brown seemed to be working the right side very hard - Herschel Henderson did have a pick over there.

All in all, a good practice for the first day in pads. There were a lot of guests watching - no names please, but 2 of the recruits for next year were in attendance and were introduced to the team. Fred McConnell is one big dude.

The Cats are back on inside today starting at 10:30. If you're in Evanston - I'll see you from the tower.

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