After the defense dominated Monday morning practice, it was the offense’s turn to punch back. It took some time, but Ryan Timmons provided the haymaker to get the Air Raid rolling.
After a few periods of offense vs. defense, the conflict was reaching a stalemate after two plays during the red zone period. With Patrick Towles at quarterback on third-and-long, Neal dialed up the play that got Timmons in the end zone against South Carolina last year. “He went up and made a great play that got us going,” Neal Brown said after practice.
The play was the most exciting I’d seen during the three open practices. It was tough keeping the entire offensive sideline from celebrating with Timmons in the end zone.
With many of the vets at WR sitting out from injury (Blue, Badet, Montgomery), a lot of the playmaking has been left up to the young guys. Brown said Snodgrass, Baker, Bone and Rashad Cunningham have benefited the most from the extra snaps with the first team. Neal Brown describes the jump from high school to college well:
“I tell the young guys, pick out the best player that they played against in their high school career. Now you’re going up against somebody that’s as good or better than that player EVERY single day at practice. It’s just a totally different world for them.”
Dorian Baker was introduced to the whole new world by #2 on the defensive side of the ball today. After receiving a screen pass, he was immediately pummeled by Bud Dupree. The hit caught a lot of “OOOOOOOOHs” from the crowd, but he still hung onto the ball.
After practice, I teased Dorian a bit about the hit, to which he smiled and shook his head, “I didn’t drop it.”
– The Quarterback play today was infinitely better than yesterday. Pat Towles was great in the play-action once again to go along with two impressive red zone touchdown passes. Reese Phillips remained consistent, making routine plays frequently while maintaining control of the offense. Drew Barker had limited snaps today (it was his turn for a light day), but never looked out of place.
The key to great play at QB for the Cats is momentum. Once they gained some confidence in their receivers after Timmons’ stellar play, they gave their receivers an opportunity to make a play on every pass. The better the guys are playing around them, the better the offense looks. It sounds obvious, but when the offense is going sour like yesterday, it isn’t just the QBs responsibility.
– After three practices in front of the fans, Neal Brown was happy to show off his team. It wasn’t always great, but the fans added energy to the environment, “It gets a little cumbersome and guys start to get a little tired. When the fans are over there, it gives them a little energy.”
– It’s going to be hard to keep Boom Williams off the field. There just isn’t anybody that has the kind of speed and agility that Williams’ possesses. He had multiple big plays, but one of them Neal Brown had to pump the brakes on. He beat the defense to the outside for a big gain, but it was against the second defense, “You’re not going to outrun everybody,” Brown told him.
He won’t be faster than everyone, but he’ll be faster than most.
– Yesterday JD Harmon silenced the outside receivers. Blake Bone had the size advantage on JD, but was turned away multiple times. The freshman responded today by catching a ball off the top of JD’s head on the same fade route, except this time it was in the end zone. Ya gotta love the fight from the young gun.