Under Armour Game: Monday afternoon practice report
- Gary Bogdon for ESPN.comNo. 1-rated defensive end Daquan Bowers gave linemen fits during Monday afternoon's practice.ORLANDO -- The afternoon practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex was a bit sharper as players became more acclimated with their surroundings and each other. Both squads came out in only shoulder pads and helmets as coaches put more emphasis on improving timing and cohesiveness.
Team Silver looked particularly precise during their 7-on-7 passing segment and a few receivers stood out from the rest. A.J. Green's (Ridgeville, S.C./Summerville) fluidity and smoothness on double moves left a few notable ESPN 150 corners standing still. Green's acceleration and separation on intermediate-to-deep routes was equally impressive.
Aldarius Johnson (Miami/Northwestern) also looked impressive flashing a great burst out of his breaks, but like Green, can struggle at times when corners get their hands inside on the press.
A few of Silver's defensive backs stepped up today and looked more comfortable adjusting to the coverages they will employ on Saturday. ESPN's No. 1-rated safety, Dee Finley (Auburn, Ala.), looked smooth and flashed the great range that we saw on film patrolling and covering both hashes as a deep, centerfield safety.
Silver as advertisedSilver tight end Blake Ayles (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) continues to impress with his great hands and concentration as a pass receiver. He was a difficult matchup all day for smaller outside linebackers with his elite blend of size, speed and athleticism.[+] EnlargeTom Hauck for ESPN.comTight end Brandon Moore showed good hands and athleticism during the afternoon practice.
Silver wide receiver Chris Tolliver's (Rayville, La.) acceleration and burst off quick screens and slant routes was equally impressive today. As evaluators, we did question his top-end speed at the next level but he did live up to our analysis of having perhaps the best second gear in this year's 2008 receiver class.
The Red team also looked more accurate and polished in the passing game this afternoon. Mike Glennon (Centreville, Va./Westfield) stood out from the rest looking sharp and flashing a strong arm on downfield throws. Braden Hansen (Charlotte, N.C./Latin) struggled some in the onset and is looking to kick start his performance come Tuesday.
On the receiving end, Darryl Stonum (Sugarland, Texas/Dulles) looked good with his route running and made some nice grabs.
Representing the tight ends, Brandon Moore (Trotwood, Ohio/Madison) displayed some soft hands during the 7-on-7 segment with good athleticism making a nice intermediate target with Red's prominent vertical speed.
Following up on this morning
Sean Spence (Miami/Northwestern) continued to impress his fellow teammates and coaches with a great interception return for a touchdown. ESPN's No. 11-rated outside linebacker prospect could find himself moving up the board by week's end.
In the trenches, Red defensive tackle and underrated national prospect Jewhan Edwards (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic) showed the same disruptiveness and get-off we saw this morning with another solid afternoon practice. Edwards and Omar Hunter (Buford, Ga.) are quickly developing into a fierce interior tandem that combines great size and explosiveness.
After inclement weather delayed his arrival, Red defensive end Tyler Westphal (Menasha, Wis.) hit the field for the afternoon practice and looked good. He is a tall rangy defender and showed his good get-off, this coach's son quickly acclimated to his surroundings defending the run and rushing the passer.
One Silver lineman that stood out was Texas commit Mark Buchanan (Austin, Texas). Already viewed as one of the more athletic linemen in space, Buchanan was very good in pass protection today as a left tackle. He held his own against explosive Brandon Thompson (Thomasville, Ga.) on a few occasions.
In our preview of the game, we discussed the interesting practice matchup of the still developing but talented Mike Goodman (Miami/Christopher Columbus) versus the athletic DaQuan Bowers (Bamberg, S.C./Ehrhandt). Goodman had his share of lumps at right tackle versus the much more experienced player rushing off the edge but showed great resolve bouncing back when he moved to guard and left tackle. He should be an interesting player to watch develop during the week.
Carrying the rock, Jermie Calhoun (Van, Texas) flashed the speed and explosiveness that landed him the label of the No. 1 running back in the country. He is a load carrying the ball in-line and shows a burst to daylight when he finds a seam
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