I can’t remember a Day 1 of Spring Football being so aggressive with game calls — at least from the start. Michael Penix and Dylan Morris looked set to play a conference game. Players wore padded helmets and no shoulder pads in the Dempsy Indoor Arena.
Receiver coach JaMarcus Shephard was also on mid-season form with his energy. From an early age in just exercises he trains everyone. But at the start of a Morris pass that went for 65 yards, Shephard smiled and yelled, “I love football! I love football! I love football.”
He actively helped the DBs understand what the receivers were doing, then put on his receiver’s coaching hat and pushed the boys to maintain their performance at a high level.
The DBs held their ground early on for the most part on short to intermediate routes, but when the medium to deep routes were called, Penix’s placement gave the DBs little to no chance of the ball.
Watch out when it’s time for Tybo Rogers. He appears to be a complete back physically. He’s been working on his passing protection and understands that improving this element of his game will help him see the field better. Richard Newton was early in the drills but not in the scrimmage portion.
Overall, this team seems physically and mentally ready to play. This time last year many of the players seemed so much less mature than they are now. They expect a lot from themselves, their teammates and the team as a whole. There were very few errors from the offensive.
Notes on individual players and position groups:
- Yes’Lynn Polk is significantly more muscular than last year
- Landon Hatchett wore street clothes because he is not enrolled
- Germie Bernard is listed at 6-0 and 200 pounds and that doesn’t appear to be the case. I think he will be listed 205-207 at the start of the season.
- Will Nixon was involved throughout practice and had several nice runs and a few catches
- Daniyel Ngata might be the most shady RB
- I can’t say I’ve seen much RB Aaron Dumas
- Giles Jackson appears to be holding his own on offense. He was targeted several times. He has the best 0-60 MPH on the team.
- Denzel Boston made at least 3 catches using the full catch radius. One late in the session where he spun the ball.
- Only once did I see a new RB, WR, TE lined up completely in the wrong place and needed to be moved to the right place.
- Sam Adams was having a great day, lining up all over the place and making some nice plays, but late in the session, just before Maurice Heims went down, Adams grabbed his right hamstring.
- Cam Davis, who led the team in Rushing TDs, has grown significantly but seems more agile.
- The main orienteers from left to right: LT Troy Fautanu LG Julius Buelow, Matteo Mele, RG Nate Kalepo, RT Roger Rosengarten. However, the boys were moved quite a bit.
- Lance Holtzclaw has a great burst but has yet to build up.
- G. Hatchett moved around the sentries, as did Myles Murao.
- The two true centers were Miles Murao and Matteo Mele and Parker Brailsford, who didn’t move.
- According to Dom Hampton, Michael Penix is almost an extra coach. He is in full control of the playbook but is also highly respected by the team and they follow him.
- As with Ulumoo Ale’s injury last fall, Mishael Powell got on his knees and immediately prayed for full-back Maurice Heims when he fell to the ground with a head, neck or spine injury.
- Heims later tweeted that he would be back soon
- Two of the last players to leave Dempsy were Jalen McMillan and Germie Bernard, who left together. Bernard is clearly relaxed and having a great time with his new teammates.
Play by play:
- Michael Penix as quarterback with Cam Davis in backfield, Rome Odunze and Jack Westover in the wideout left the 4-wide receiver headache to Cam Davis. The other recipients were Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk
- Penix at quarterback with Odunze and unknown receiver far left, McMillan in slot far right Ja’Lynn Polk moves up Morris hits Will Nixon with a big pick-up
- Ja’Lynn Polk lined up on the left with Devin Culp at the tight end. Nixon in the backfield moves against Penix in the rear. Penix under a lot of pressure from, but the ball is almost pulled in, but he was disturbed by the defense at the back. I think it was meant for Polk.
- Morris at quarterback with Adams behind him. Morris slid to the right and fired a bullet that looked too hot to deal with, but Taj Davis pulled it in despite heavy cover.
- Morris breaks up the scrum with Adams in the backfield, Giles Jackson far out letting Quentin Moore move. Morris tagged to Sam Adams, who came up with his right hamstring.
- Taj Davis far left, cuevas between Davis and Jackson lined up in the slot. Morris in shotgun formation with Daniyel Ngata in the backfield. Morris with a nice delivery to Taj Davis, who picks up for 8 yards, shoots and loses his mouthguard, which flew 20 feet.
- Davis positions himself far left, Jackson moves into the left slot. Morris as quarterback with Ngata in the backfield. Morris wobbles free under heavy pressure and throws the ball wide. It was just a second ball thrown wide by Morris.
- Penix at quarterback with Odunze far left Taj Davis Split still far left, Ryan Otton at tight end. From his own 24, Penix unleashes a bomb on Odunz, who pulls it in at the other 34 yard line. Odunze spins and extends fully to score a ball that only Odunze could have caught. Hampton in reporting. – Contestant for the game of the day
- Penix with Odunze and McMillan far left. Dumps the ball to McMillan who loses the ball from his hands and is almost picked up by number Jaivion Green. On the play, Maurice Heims goes over the 25-yard line.
- Penix at quarterback Bernard far left outside of McMillan, Penix tosses the yes ball to the other side to Denzel Boston for a short 5-yard pickup.
- Bernard far left outside of McMillan and an RB in the slot Odunze in the far right slot has the ball on number eight, Nixon.
- Morris at quarterback with Taj Davis at far left. Morris throws the ball wide after being pressured.
- Taj Davis and Otton far left. Otton pulls in a comeback and uses Davis’ block to dodge two tacklers and gains 12 yards.
- Tybo Rogers with a nice pick up on a handoff.
- Denzel Boston with a highlight game turns the ball up
- Penix back at the quarterback with Nixon in the slot, inside Odunze. Nixon goes to the backfield. Jackson, Taj Davis and Polk clearly
- Otton and Jackson up close with Alex in backfield polk and Odunze white-out on the left. The passcode for Giles Jackson itching a defender for a nice pickup
- Penix with a nice sideline is 8 meters behind Rom Odunze
- Odunze, Polk and Jackson far left. Penix is under pressure but delivers a nice pass to Odunze with another highlight reel finish. – Game of the day
- Morris on the move at quarterback with Taj Davis. An old-school swing faints to Davis, who weaves his way for 8 yards.
- Morris at quarterback Bernard and Jackson at left flank. Jackson gets the move going, Ryan Otton on TE ball is handed off to Nixon, who is fighting for some hard yards, picking up four on second and five.
- Boston and Bernard far left with Mason Wheeler in the slot. The transfer goes to Nixon
- Bernard far left with a perfectly thrown D-Ball Denzel Boston burning the DB with a 65-yard touchdown pass to end the session – Game of the Day nominee