It's a nice sunny Tuesday afternoon at Dove Valley. As I take my familiar position at the 47 yard line, I am hoping this practice will be sunny also. The scheduled time of 2:30 PM rolls around and I don't see anyone yet. There is a 5 man blocking sled near the end zone in the area where the Offensive Line normally goes through their position drills, but otherwise the field is bare of equipment. Ah, now I see the Tight Ends emerge and the Black Crowe's "Hard to Handle" plays across the compound. more players emerge and I notice they are in full pads. The two kickers walk in solitary silence, enjoying a quiet camaraderie. Matt Prater tees the ball up at the 30 yard line and waits for the rest of the Kick Coverage Unit to assemble. HORN.
Three minutes goes on the segment clock. I see Britton Colquitt holding the ball for Matt Prater to practice for windy conditions. Darcel McBath, Perrish Cox, Marquez Branson, David Bruton, Spencer Larsen, Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard, Richard Quinn, and Matthew Willis make up the Coverage Unit. They practice various kickoff situations and types of kicks against the Scout team. Nate Jones rotates in for Perrish Cox. The emphasis is on leverage and squeezing to the ball. The 2nd Unit rotates in and I see Baraka Atkins, Alphonso Smith, Cassius Vaughn, Nick Greisen, Jammie Kirlew, Patrick Carter, Tony Carter, Kevin Alexander, Syd'Quan Thompson, and Alric Arnett on the field. This unit gets 3 or 4 repetitions. HORN.
11 on 11's. 1st Team Offense vs. the Scouts. They run a few plays, running and passing, from a 2 Tight End set. This segment is at walk-through speed. Stanley Daniels is filling in for Chris Kuper on the 1st Unit. HORN.
The clock is reset to 13 minutes and the Team goes into their jogging routine to loosen up their legs. Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" plays in the background. This turns into the stretch interval where the team is spread out across the field and Coach Tuten barks out orders. I notice that the veterans have let the rookies clean up their Hazing Haircuts. Riar Geer, Zane Beadles and Tim Tebow all sport "Butch" coiffures. I see Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan, Champ Bailey, Brandon Stokely and Jabar Gaffney in attendance. Among those missing are LenDale White, Eric Decker and DeMaryius Thomas. D.J. Williams is out here though, and he and Brian Dawkins are wearing "No Contact" orange jerseys. I am also glad to see Chris Baker on the field practicing. Josh McDaniels and "Wink" Martindale converse at midfield. The Bon Jovi tunes continue with "Living on a Prayer" and the ball boys lay out the hurdle pylons and the "Running Lane" mat. HORN.
The players split up and go their separate ways. The Offensive Linemen go off and do what looks like the "Super Bowl Shuffle" while the ballcarriers run the hurdles. HORN.
The clock resets to 5 minutes and it's time for individual position drills. The O-Line is punishing the blocking sled. I can't see it because a tree is in the way, but it sounds like they are giving it hell. I see across to the other field and the D-Line works on their hand technique and the defensive Backs are doing their backpedal and swivel drills. The Quarterbacks run hand off drills with the Running backs and then start their pass warm ups with the ball boy. The RB's are running their Lane drills now and the Wide Receivers are catching the ball and being hit by two assistants with blocking pads. HORN.
5 more minutes are added to the clock and the Wide Receivers join the Quarterbacks. The crowd is cheering Tebow for completing 10 yard passes and I am reminded by Bruce Lee's comment in Enter the Dragon, "Boards don't hit back." Just wait until someone's in his face I tell the crowd. Brady Quinn is still throwing the high heat. Brandon Stokely goes up and makes the catch anyway. I suppose Decker and Thomas could easily make those catches, but stretching your receivers out like that can't possibly help their health though. Quinn's long ball is looking better. Tebow is throwing up Ducks at 12 yards. If you think I'm being a little harsh on Tebow, let me tell you. Orton is making the same length passes with better velocity, flatter and with a tighter spiral. He is also hitting the receivers in stride now. The difference is night and day. HORN.
The clock resets to 3 minutes. One on one drills. Wide Receivers go up against Defensive Backs. The Receivers have the ball and must try to get past the DB's. On the other field, Running Back are up against the Linebackers. HORN.
9 minutes on the clock for this segment. 9 on 7's with the 1st Defense. The Offense runs the ball against Mario Haggan, Ron Fields, Justin Bannan, Jamal Williams, Akin Ayodele, Joe Mays and D.J. Williams. Nick Greisen rotates with D.J. and Robert Ayers, Baraka Atkins and Kevin Alexander also get reps. HORN.
Another 9 minutes are put on the clock. Time for 1st Team 11 on 11 drills. The LB's are Robert Ayers, Akin Ayodele, Mario Haggan and Wesley Woodyard. Kyle Orton completes a pass to Jabar Gaffney and Woodyard is there to make the play. The 2nd LB's are Kevin Alexander, Joe Mays, Nick Greisen and Jammie Kirlew. Nate Jones and Alphonso Smith are in with the number two's. Kyle passes to Eddie Royal and then hits Spencer Larsen on a sideline out. Tebow throws a screen to Lance Ball, then a deep floater to Matthew Willis over Cassius Vaughn. A poor pass with a great catch. Tebow whips the ball over the middle to Brandon Lloyd (Good play). Orton throws incomplete over the middle to Lloyd. Brian Dawkins was blitzing on the play and Bruce Hall picked up the block very well. Bruce Hall picks up a 5 yard carry. HORN.
8 minutes are placed on the segment clock. More Kickoff Coverage drills. First and second teams take reps. Nate Jones gets an Attaboy from Coach Priefer. Keith Burns barks orders at the Scout Team. The Unit practices a myriad of different kickoff plays, coverages and situations. I am liking the thoroughness of the Special Teams coach and I hope to see this translate to the regular season. HORN.
5 minutes on the clock. The players return to their individual positional drills. HORN.
An 8 minute segment begins. 6 on 8's. Ballcarriers vs. LB's and DB's. Kyle Orton hits Jabar Gaffney. Then a pass intended for Matthew Willis is knocked away by Champ Bailey. I see Nate Jones taking reps at Safety and paired with Darcel McBath. Kyle completes a short pass Lance Ball. An Orton pass goes through Eddie Royal's hands. Tebow floats another pass after holding on to the ball for 8-9 seconds, and Champ Bailey intercepts it for 6 points. Orton to Lloyd. Tebow completes a nice pass to Matthew Willis, but he is still holding the ball too long. Wesley Woodyard prevents a completion between Orton and Lance Ball. I question whether it was face guarding or Pass Interference, but it may have been inside 5 yards. HORN.
8 minutes go on the clock and 11 on 11's begin again. Kyle Orton hits Jabar Gaffney for 5 yards and then passes to Eddie Royal along the sideline. Kyle rolls out right and is chased down by Ryan McBean, so he throws it out of bounds. Tebow hands off to Lance Ball that gets strung out for no gain. Brady Quinn hands off to Bruce Hall. Orton has to throw the ball away when the Defense tightens the coverage. Kyle then completes a deep pass to Eddie Royal who is double covered by Brian Dawkins and Nate Jones. Eddie comes down with it and the crowd goes wild. Orton then hits Brandon Stokely over the middle from the slot. Kyle then hits Daniel Graham on a deep seam. DG catches it over Akin Ayodele who has him covered pretty well. David Bruton blitzes and Kyle hits Gaffney in stride on a beautiful pass and catch over Darcel McBath, who had Jabar covered very well. Bruce Hall gets a carry. Eddie on a Wide Receiver screen. Spencer Larsen gets a carry. Brady Quinn hands off to Bruce Hall and Jammie Kirlew gets him in the backfield. Kyle Orton hits Gaffney on a deep post and he is wide open. Ball and Hall both get carries running behind Larsen. Toney Baker gets a carry and I see Chris Baker take on two blockers, plug the hole, and make the tackle on Toney. HORN.
Switch sides and put 4 minutes on the clock. The practice tempo is increased. Bruce Hall gets a carry. Orton passes complete to Brandon Lloyd. Toney Baker has a carry and Brady Quinn hooks up with Britt Davis on a short post. Toney Baker is stopped for no gain. Tebow throws up a pick to Perrish Cox. Toney Baker is hit at the line of scrimmage by Wesley Woodyard. Mario Haggan pressures Tebow, and the rookie hits Nathan Overbay. After another pass to Overbay, Tebow holds the ball for 10 seconds before throwing it away. The next play is a sack by the Defense. HORN.
They switch sides for another 3 minutes. Lance Ball gets a few carries from a 2 back set. Then Kyle Orton completes a pass to Gaffney who is sitting down in the seam. Quinn hands off to Bruce Hall and Hall is seriously hit by Joe Mays. Toney Baker rushes for 5 yards. HORN.
They switch sides for a 5 minute segment. 1 minute hurry up Offense. The scenario: Ball is at the 50 yard line and the Offense has 1 timeout. Kyle hits Brandon Stokely perfectly as there is a Cornerback blitz on. The clock is running and they set up for the next play. Orton has to throw the ball out of bounds. On the next play, Orton hits Stokely, who beats Nate Jones for a touchdown. The 2nd team gets their turn with the same scenario. Brady Quinn's first pass attempt is too soon. He fires the ball over the middle way before the intended receiver even makes his cut. The next play is a pass complete to Jabar Gaffney. Alphonso Smith intercepts the next pass. HORN.
The Field Goal Unit comes out and Matt Prater makes a field goal from the 27, then three from 33 yards. He is using the skinny set of portable goal posts to practice with. They switch off kicking from either hash marks. Prater hits one from 43 and finishes up with a 47 yarder. Then it is time for sideline sprints. Offense on the near field and the Defense on the far one. This time they don't get to rest on each side, it's up and back then rest. They do this enough that a few players are winded. Then the Team huddles at midfield and its Autograph time. The Defensive Linemen are signing today. Ben Garland, Ryan McBean, Jeff Stehle, Ronald Fields, and Chris Baker. I manage to get Marcus Thomas, Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams signatures. I've got to tell you all, Justin Bannan's biceps are darn near as big as my thighs. And Zane Beadles was right, Jamal Williams IS a Beast.
Well that's it for today. Two practices tomorrow though.