It was our first look at practice following Saturday’s scrimmage and head coach Charlie Strong was left wanting more on Monday. At the conclusion of today’s practice, Strong was not happy with the overall intensity he saw from his team. There were plenty of highs and lows on all sides of the ball and the lack of consistency is certainly frustrating for the head man in charge.
With plenty of momentum shifts on offense and defense, particularly during red zone periods paired with sloppiness on special teams, there was plenty to highlight from today’s practice.
All three quarterbacks are still in the mix
Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was adamant that all three of his quarterbacks vying for the starting job were still in contention for the spot.
“We’re fortunate the way that we practice there’s a lot of reps,” Gilbert said. “Those guys are battling everyday. It just kind of carries over from day to day with those guys and their reps and where they’re battling. We like the progression of all three of those guys and the direction their going...They’re all three in the mix.”
Today’s practice wouldn’t make the quarterback decision any easier on the coaches as Blake Barnett, Brett Kean, and Chris Oladokun all had their share of splash plays.
Barnett was still taking the reps with the ones and looked sharp during two-minute drills. During his best drive of the day he found shifty running back Duran Bell for a 30-yard gain and quickly capped off the drive by scrambling free for an 8-yard score on the next play. However, Barnett did struggle a bit in red zone as corner Ronnie Hoggins called out the receivers route and proceeded to pick off Barnett. It was the only pick the transfer quarterback threw during open media availability.
Brett Kean was able to connect for two touchdowns in the red zone, the first being a perfectly thrown ball to the back corner of the end zone that was caught by senior wideout Ryshene Bronson. His second was a wide open pass over the middle to tight end Frederick Lloyd.
Not to be outdone was the sophomore out of Sickles High School, Chris Oladokun, who threw for two scores on two of the more impressive plays of the entire practice. The first to Jernard Phillips and the second on an RPO that fooled the defense and left Zion Roland open for the easy touchdown.
Special teams: Not great, Bob!
If you ask Jaymon Thomas, special teams went great today. And for him, they did. Thomas rushed the same gap on back to back plays to block two consecutive kicks. A third kick was also blocked by defensive end Greg Reaves.
It was Jake Vivonetto who had both of his kicks blocked, however the blame doesn’t lie directly on the kicker.
On a positive note, Tennessee State transfer Coby Weiss was 2-for-2 on his kicks today.
- Tight end Mitchell Wilcox did not dress
- Ole Miss transfer tight end Jacob Mathis did dress, but only worked out on rehab island
- Safety Mekhi Lapointe’s practice ended early with an undisclosed injury
Players impressed with WR DeAngelo Antoine’s transition to Safety
Starting Safety Jaymon Thomas has been impressed with receiver DeAngelo Antonie who has been working out at safety and making an impact for the defense.
“One thing about D-Lo, D-Lo is fast,” Thomas said. “He can get from sideline to sideline and he is probably one of the fastest guys on the defense. We just have to make sure he knows the defense. Once he gets the defense it will be like clockwork.”
Mazzi Wilkins was also excited at the potential Antonie has at a new position.
“He can really get sideline to sideline. That speed he has and acceleration, it shows. He just has to get a better understanding. He’s going to come around and he’s going to do really well.”