Aug. 9, 2011
By Nick Frank
Athletic Media Relations
The freshman duo has run crisp routes and each player has caught nearly everything thrown his way thus far in fall camp. Only siz practices in, a diving catch is beginning to become normal, almost expected out of either one.
Tuesday morning, it was Lovett who made a diving catch over a defender to bring down a ball thrown by M.J. McPeek. Their consistent play has already caught the eyes of fellow players including defensive back Momo Thomas and running back Chris Nwoke, both of whom were overheard singing the freshmen’s praises on the sideline.
“We’re waiting for somebody to step up at receiver,” said Fairchild. “Right now it seems like Lee Clubb and Lovett have made as many plays as anybody, and they’re right out of high school. Every practice, true freshmen are making plays.”
Practice included a 15-play live period, which the defense used to continue to close the offense’s lead in the running score. Coming into practice, the offense led, 61-47, a 14-point margin. But, the defense pulled within 10 after Tuesday’s morning session with a total score of 81-71, in favor of the offense.
To add incentive for competition, Fairchild notified the team after practice that whichever side of the ball is leading after Saturday’s scrimmage will not have to condition that night.
Defensive end Nordly Capi registered another sack Tuesday, his second in as many days. Also scoring big points for the defense was Marcus Shaw. Shaw, a defensive back, sniffed out a trick play and brought down Lovett in the backfield for a 5-yard loss.
Offensively, Derek Good took his only carry through the defense for a 16-yard gain before being brought down by safety Ivory Herd. Pete Thomas connected with Lou Greenwood near the sideline for a 15-yard gain. Greenwood made a few moves on defenders before being sandwiched between Mychal Sisson and Mike Orakpo.
Practice ran a little shorter than the usual two hours, coming in at 1 hour, 40 minutes. The Rams will be in full pads again Tuesday afternoon. Practice will start at 4 p.m.
Other notes from live period: Thomas went 1-of-3 for 15 yards…Raymond Carter had two carries for 3 yards…McPeek went 2-of-3 for 17 yards…Cory James chipped in with two tackles for the defense.
Tempers flare: Tuesday morning saw another scuffle between players. This time it came between two young and promising athletes, Weston Richburg and John Froland. Richburg, a first-team Freshman All-America center (Phil Steele, CollegeFootballNews.com) and honorable-mention all-Mountain West Conference player, was pulled off of Froland by linebackers coach Bernard Clark.
Rookie night follow-up: Sunday night, true freshmen were asked to think of a talent or skit they would perform in front of the team. The consensus winners from the night were Trey Cassidy and Sam Carlson. The two re-enacted a scene from a famous 1990s movie that left the whole auditorium in tears.
Nwoke in red: Nwoke wore a red jersey and sat out of contact drills Tuesday morning. Fairchild said it was a precautionary move and that he should be back for the afternoon practice or after media day (Wednesday).
More Fairchild quotes from practice…
On the spring decision to move Elijah-Blu Smith back to his natural position, CB, when the team could’ve had four returning starters in the secondary had it left him at safety:
“He’s a corner. He’s better at corner, with some of the scheme changes, some of the things we’re doing technique-wise, he can do and it fits him better. So, it’s best for our football team to have him at corner.”
On what Smith does well:
“Well, he’s long. He can play press. He’s got good speed. He gives us another tackler out there, out wide.”
On how he has adjusted to the move:
“Yeah, he likes it. I like it. I think you could tell, even in spring when he wasn’t going full speed, it was going to be a good move for us. He gives us another tackler out there at corner. You can single him up because he’s got big-time speed.”
On other cornerbacks picking up the pace after Smith’s position move:
“Well, they’re going to have to, yeah. And then it gives us more competition there. It gives us some flexibility in nickel and dime stuff.”
On DE Broderick Sargent compared to last season:
“He’s a little bigger and stronger. We made the switch after he came in as kind of fullback-type guy, so as he gets bigger and stronger it obviously helps us. He’s always been pretty athletic, pretty fast. I think playing there has helped him.”
On the defensive line:
“We’re still waiting for somebody to be a difference-maker there but we’ve got a lot of candidates. We’ve got a lot of guys that have played. We should be better than last year.”
On the scheme change to designate strong-side and weak-side defensive ends, and whether it helps Sargent:
“I think it does. But you’ve got to be able to play both. It’s like the Sam and Will backer. Every team flips the tight end and all that. But there are some things from a schematic standpoint that we can do a little with him.”
On general thoughts on the first session of the initial two-practice day of camp:
“Sloppy. Really sloppy. I’m going to put them in full pads; I thought about going in shells in the afternoon, but we’re going to go full pads. There was too much offsides, that type of stuff that happens when you’re not dialed in, so we’ll see if we can’t do a little cleaner effort this afternoon.
“We’ve got a long way to go at receiver, I guess is the best way to put it. Thomas Coffman, he’s a redshirt freshman, but again, those freshmen are making as many plays as anybody.”
On getting Dorian Brown (knee) into team thud drills:
“Hopefully, that red jersey will come off before too long. Yeah, it’s nice because he got a little bit of a learning experience in the spring but he hasn’t been full-go. He’s worked hard this offseason, rehabbing. We’re being safe.”
On why he feels like he can go with a committee at running back but needs a go-to guy at receiver:
“I think we do play a lot of guys at receiver, but it would be nice to have a guy on third down that if they single up, like those two San Diego State guys last year (Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson), if you single them up, they’re going to make a play on you, play in and play out. You know, just one of those guys you can hang your hat on. We’ll see where we’re at.”
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