Day Two of the HBCU Bowl is now complete and we now have seen enough to give our initial impressions in some of the players. Here are our thoughts from the first day of practice
For starters today was shirts and shorts only as the players participated walkthrough and spent time with their coaches getting used to the schemes and how they were going to be lining up. As with any all-star game there were a few missed assignments and questions about which player was supposed to be where but for the most part there was also plenty to be happy about as well.
Overall it was tough to get a read or make a final determination about any one player but here are our initial thoughts;
QB Casey Therriault
Casey had an up and down day when it came to throwing the ball. He hit on more passes than he missed but he allowed his delivery to dip down to almost a sidearm throw and it affected his accuracy some. When he came over the top he delivered a nice clean catchable ball that was often on target and had good pace. He also showed off his athleticism on broken plays and designed QB draws where he would break out of the pocket and showed good hip flexibility to make defenders miss.
WR Derrick Hector
Did a good job beating press coverage coming out of the slot. At one point used his size and apparent strength advantage to toss a defender to the side. Also showed the ability to go up after and fight for the ball.
WR Demarlo Barber
Consistently beat his man deep but didn’t show a ton of versatility otherwise. Showed plenty of speed to burn but want to see him on more than just nine routes. He needs to show me an effectiveness to come across the middle and to get into and out of his breaks with the same quickness he displays when accelerating out of his stance.
WR Paul Cox
After a good combine showing I was hoping to see something special out of him but he didn’t show in the walkthrough. He’s not a good blocker at this point but has the size to get bigger and better. I expect him to be better when the hitting goes live but I’m worried he could also get swallowed up.
OL Jarvis Canty
Was playing a lot of LT today and gave mixed reviews, he’s not a David Mims clone from last years HBCU Bowl and he struggles to move his feet. He is however big and strong and has the ability to get his hands on you and run you out of a play. I think he kicks inside to OG and could be used as a road grading style of guard.
P Marques King
Forgive me for watching a punter during an all-star game but this kid was hitting some booming kicks during the practice. One punt I timed had a hang time of over 5 seconds and this is a kid who ran a 4.66 40 yard dash. He wasn’t a consistent weapon for Fort Valley this year but if he could learn how to be consistent he could be a camp surprise.
DE Adrian Hamilton
His good day continued after putting away doubt about his speed during the walkthrough. Hamilton was a tough matchup for almost any of the OL to try and block and he was constantly on the go. Did get caught a couple of times on zone read plays taking the wrong player and will have to be more aware of the play and make the more disciplined decision. The thing I like about Hamilton is his change of direction ability, he brings the pass rush from so many angles and in so many ways it’s a big part of what makes him so dangerous.
LB Nigel Carr
You know for a guy who hasn’t played football in a year he seemed awful enthusiastic about being out there. He was showing off good leadership qualities and showed some of his FSU polish by having an advanced understanding of what was going on and how to direct his teammates. Hard to tell much scouting wise without live action but he is showing us he cares about football at least.
QB Chris Walley
Nobody started the day as down as Walley did. After missing the weigh-in and combine Walley came out to practice behind the ball as far as prep work and struggled to handle the snap very well. He fumbled five snaps that I counted and look nervous for his first 15 or so throws. After that Walley seemed to develop some confidence and began throwing the ball more like how he did when he was at Norfolk State. It will be interesting to see if the way Day 1 ended turns into a successful Day 2.
DL Akeem Ward
I saw Ward playing some DT during the walk-through and he was showing some good burst off the ball. I think he’ll probably see time at both DT and DE over the course of the week. The DL coach was getting after Ward about finishing the play off during a pass rush blitz. He showed good speed the next snap as he shot the outside shoulder and used a nifty swim move to get past and win the drill.
DE/LB Delano Howard
It’s hard not to love the way this guy plays football, he has that nasty streak you love in a defender and even in practice he goes balls to the walls. Working in the same pass rush drill as other DL Howard not only beat his man with quickness he very nearly pulled down the “QB” on the play, prompting the coaches to tell him to cool it down just a hair. He has me very excited to see him this week. He also did a good job in 11 on 11 to get his hands up and bat down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
DT Josh Turner v. OC Natiel Curry
Turner and Curry went one on one for three times in a pass rush drill and each time Curry ended up with the better of Turner. Turner lacked much burst off the ball and really allowed Curry too much time to set up and anchor down for his bull rush. Pass rush isn’t Turner’s fortay but he got only limited depth when trying to push the pocket.
DT Charles Deas
Another big man who did not fail to impress was Charles Deas, like Turner he at times struggled the pass rush drill but when taking on the double team in 11 on 11 he gave up no ground and showed off a solid bull rush when left one on one. We also got to see a good first step from Deas when he’s able to anticipate the snap count and split the double team.
CB Antonio Denard
The NAIA prospect is making a huge leap in this game but looked like a veteran during 11 on 11 when he baited a throw from the East CB before breaking hard on the route and getting his hands on the ball. He has some stuff to work on but early impressions are very positive in regards to this kid playing in this game.
DB Rick Volcin
Watched the DB’s work on their footwork in a drill and Volcin by far looked the best in his backpedal. Many of the other DB’s looked uncomfortable even backpedaling and when asked to change speeds it was a struggle for them but Volcin looked smooth in doing that and I’ll be interested to watch him once the action goes live.
These notes are somewhat limited because there is only so much you can draw from a walk-through paced practice. Expect for the reports to become a lot more comprehensive and more prospects to get some focus over the next two days of practices.
Tomorrow morning we go to live hitting and the scouting goes to the next level. The East team practices at 9am and the West at 3pm. I’ll have full reports from each team up tomorrow!