Training Camp 2018 V - Voice Memos
I record voice memos in my phone during practice sometimes. OK, all the time. I know it's super lame, but I'm trying to take in so much at one time and I want to remember everything I see so I feel like I need to record some notes.
I won't be back at camp until Wednesday afternoon, so tonight I figured I'd transcribe some of those notes for you. Not word for word - that would be super lame - but snippet by snippet. I obviously thought these things were important at the time, so why not share them with you now.
Friday Night Voice Notes
+ During WR drills they're often lined up by letter. Z-receivers (flankers) over here, X-receivers (split ends) over here, slot receivers (some schemes use "W", some use "A") over here. Most receivers work out at all of the spots (and will line up in several positions during a game). But it's still I think I like to track, mostly to see who are the "understudies". In other words, Dudek graduates this year - who is behind him at that same slot position?
Here's what my voice memo said:
Slot: Mikey Dudek, Carlos Sandy, Dominic Stampley, walkons.
(I was having trouble trying to figure out who were the X's and who were the Z's but I think it was...)
Z: Ricky Smalling, Trenard Davis, Carmoni Green, walkons
X: Sam Mays, Justice Williams, Edwin Carter, walkons
As I was recording that note the air horn blew and they all hustled over for some 11 on 11 drills, so I'm sure I missed a few players (and perhaps even had the wrong guys in the wrong line). And there were other guys (like Caleb Reams) working out at WR but he doesn't show up on my voice memo (X, probably?), But... I thought that tidbit was important, so there it is. Stampley and Sandy are slot guys. Carter is a split end.
+ I have a recording on the second string offensive line. Friday night it was:
LT: Jake Cerny
LG: Zeke Martin
C: Kurt Gavin
RG: Adam Solomon
RT: Andrew Trainer
We call that the "freshmen are all third string for now" offensive line. I think both Larry Boyd and Reuben Unije were a bit nicked up (meaning they were limiting their reps), so I'm pretty sure both were running with the threes that day. I'm guessing both get regular reps with the twos (and Boyd maybe some reps with the ones) next week.
+ I made some voice notes about where the freshmen DB's were playing, but then some of them were at different positions on Saturday. I think they're going to learn several positions as they ease them in. Delano Ware seems to be safety-only, and Ron Hardge and Dylan Wyatt seem to be corner-only, but the other four guys (Sydney Brown, Nick Walker, Kerby Joseph, and Jartavius Martin) seemed to be lined up at all different spots during the practices.
This is typical for freshmen, of course, so I'm not sure why I made the voice note. I guess I'm really curious to see where guys like Jartavius Martin (free safety or corner?) and Sydney Brown (safety or maybe nickel corner?) end up.
+ I made a note of which guys were returning punts when they went to special teams drills. The guys practicing catching technique on end-over-end punts (perfectly provided by Blake Hayes):
Saturday Morning Voice Notes
+ Walkon Christian Bobak is back at nickel corner. He arrived as a walkon running back in 2016 (and redshirted) and then started the year as a running back last year. But after he earned a spot on the kickoff coverage team (as a freshman walkon), the coaches saw him tackle and thought "hey, maybe he'd make a good nickel corner for us". So they moved him over there, only to move him back to tailback after we had all the injuries. He even got a carry in one game last year.
With the tailbacks now healthy (and some new freshmen tailbacks having arrived), Bobak has now gone back to nickel. Can he find his way into the rotation there? It's in the voice memo from practice, so obviously it's possible. Chris James, who was at nickel a lof last year, did not return, and Tony Adams and Cam Watkins, both of whom I thought might be a nickel (inside) corner this year, aren't with the nickels during the breakout sessions, so it seems like the spot is wide open this camp (with freshman Kerby Joseph getting a lot of reps). So yes, Bobak will get a shot at some minutes there. When the coaches move a walkon to the other side of the ball, it's usually "hey, this kid could help us down the road".
+ I have a lot of notes in there on the defensive line. They'll do reps in pairs, usually two DE's doing a rep or two DT's doing a rep. And when they do that, there's always a weakside end paired with a strongside end (and a nose tackle paired with a 3-tech DT). Those spots change all the time - the DE's are at WDE one day and SDE the next day because the coaches want them to learn both spots. Some DE's rotate between SDE and 3DT (like Jihad Ward used to do), so one day they're a tackle and one day they're an end. So just like everything above, this is just a snapshot of one day at practice and the next day it will be different.
BUT, for that one day, Jamal Woods was with the DE's. And that's significant to me given that he played both DE and DT last season. I also saw freshman Julian Pearl paired with the strongside ends and freshman Ezekiel Holmes paired with the weakside ends.
Does all of this mean anything? Not really. It will change before I get back. But if there's this continuum on the defensive line where the smallest guys are the weakside ends and the biggest guys are the nose tackles and they'll all slide up and down based on how much weight and strength they add, well, then I would currently put the continuum this way:
Holmes - Mondesir - Shogbonyo - Gay - Pearl - Carney - Roundtree - Woods - Oladipo - Oliver - Jackson - Pate - Milan - Brown - Avery
(That's from "closest to looking like a linebacker" to "closest to looking like an immovable object".)
And remember, no seniors there and three juniors (and all of the juniors are on the "immovable object" end). This is a young, YOUNG defensive line.
+ I have this memo that just says "Nick Walker and Ron Hardge". Pretty sure I meant that both of them were getting lots of reps at corner in 11 on 11 drills. When I say two names together it's usually who was paired with who. Means nothing, probably - just something I wanted to note at the time. Why do I make these voice memos?
+ The walkon playing the most: defensive back Michael Marchese. He was fairly consistently running with the second string at safety. Part of that is because the seven freshman defensive backs don't know what they're doing yet. But part of that is also the fact that we played 22 true freshmen last season - 21 scholarship true freshman, and this kid on special teams who got after it and we needed to get him on the field - Mike Marchese.
+ My final voice memo from Saturday morning: "Phillips, Hansen, Harding, and Tolson". I remember that one - I was saying that those four linebackers appeared to have separated themselves from the rest (after two days). One more time for my disclaimer - this could all change this week, or next week, or the two weeks where camp is closed and they're beginning to prepare for Kent State. But I have all these offseason questions in my head, like "which freshman linebacker will push into the rotation because I'm pretty sure one of them will", well, for now, I think that guy is Khalan Tolson.
In fact, if they keep four guys at the top of the list and then everyone else works in here or there. I could see these guys being the names this year and next year with Phillips (graduating) out and Eifler (sitting out this season) in. Which means that next year I'm going to have a voice memo in my phone: "Hansen, Harding, Eifler, Tolson".
For now, "Phillips, Hansen, Harding, Tolson". If you're listening for Gene Honda to say who made the tackle, I think those are the main four names you'll hear him saying.