Pratice Reports From Cartier Field

These are NDNation poster accounts of last night’s student practice:

Those punts weren’t as long as you mentioned. The ball was being snapped from the 30 and getting to about the 25 or 30, which is about 40-45 yard punt. Punting distance is measured from the LOS and not where the punter kicks from, so that’s just a clarification. With that being said, Price looked good.

I was encouraged by Brandon Walker. He seemed to have a consistent and solid pop to his kicks. I suspect that he will be kicking our FGs this season and Whitaker will handle KO’s. Regardless, Walker will be a good kicker for us for the next 4 years. Burkhardt was nowhere to be seen except running sprints at the end.

I thought Clausen’s arm looked alright. Maybe he’s not ready to really let it go yet, but his motion looked fine and he didn’t seem to be favoring anything. Sharply didn’t look as solid as he has in the past. This could be attributed to the fact that he was running the 2-minute drill, which is a little more hectic. He threw an easy ball well behind Carlson on a crossing route. DJ’s pick was poor decision, but an ever poorer decision was during his pursuit of the run back. He pulled back his throwing arm and tried to punch the ball loose, and in doing so seemed to make perfect contact with the defender’s helmet. I was surprised by that a little. My one deduction from tonight’s practice with regards to the QB situation was that Jimmy won’t be starting anytime soon. He was doing most of the running plays, whereas DJ and Sharply were throwing the ball and running a 2-minute offense. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess.

Robert Hughes doesn’t look like a freshman at all. He is LARGE and runs well. David Bruton was killing on special teams punt coverage. He beat his man on about every play, and should be a valuable gunner for us this year. West, Gallup and Zibby were fielding punts. Walls was back for a few Kickoff returns. Joe Brockington looks to have put on a lot of weight since last year, which is good because he’ll be taking on a lot of OG’s this season. Crum looked considerably bigger too. Just a few random observations.


No surprise, Price was great at punts.

Whitaker definitely looked to be the best FG kicker tonight. As jesuitirish said below, he was 5/6 in one stretch where he missed 1-40 yarder, made the same 40 yarder the next try, then hit a 50 yarder. On the 40 yarder miss, it looked like the holder bobbled the snap to him a bit and that is what distracted Whitaker (something he needs to work on not being distracted by, just kick it like it’s held perfectly and if the holder doesn’t get it there, then it’s on him, at least that’s what I think a kicker should train to do).

It seemed to me that Clausen was in on about half the snaps that were taken between him, Sharpley, and Jones. I’d make something of that but all of Clausen’s snaps were under center with 85% or so being runs while Sharpley and Jones both ran hurry-up offenses where 80% or so were passes. If all three were running similar plays, it would have been easier to infer something about it and is probably why Weis ran the practice like he did.

One thing that I noticed was that the 2-3 deep o-line seemed to get a good push and get the D-line back 2-3 yards before the RB got to the line. I don’t know the reason for this (could have the d-line been told to play soft?). If both sides were playing to ability, hopefully that means the o-line is very good this year and not that the d-line is not so good (or that the 3-4 defense that is being practiced is weak against the run).

Good thing there is only about 5.5 days left to the first game. I’m anxious to get the seasons started.


There were about 1000-2000 students in attendence. Many freshmen in their new dorm t-shirts.

I will try to refrain from drawing any conclusions or making any commentary and just try to share some of what I saw.

After stretching, it was punting. Price and number 43 alternated two kicks a piece. Price was averaging about 55 yards, 43’s average was about 50. Receiving the punts were West, Grimes, Gallup, and finally Zibby. West put one on the turf. Zibby was the only returner to appear to break free. Much has been made of his weight, but he doesn’t appear any thinner. He does appear to be fast as shit.

Price’s longest was 60 yards.

Field Goals were next. Walker made a 20 yard kick, a 32, a 35, a 40 from the left hash, but missed twice on a 40 yard kick on the right hash. My program says Burkhart wears 39 and Whitaker 33, but I seem to remember the other kicker wearing #35. I could be mistaken. He scored on a 20, a 32, a 35, missed a 40 yarder on the left hash, and then made the same kick. He then made a 50 yard kick down the center.

Kick-offs followed, with #35 and and Walker alternating. Most kicks came down on the 5 yard line. The shortest fell at the 20 yard line (kicker #35) and the longest fell on the goal line (Walker). The return tandems were Allen and Tate, Walls and West, and McNeil and Gallup. Gallup dropped one ball.

11 on 11 scrimmage.

Jimmy Clausen came out with the first team. (All commentary violently suppressed at this point). With him were Thomas, Schwapp, Hord, the expected starting OL (Duncan, Turkovich, Sullivan, Wenger, Young), and two TEs (Carlson, Yeatman).

JC ran about 30 plays. Almost all were running plays. (Cough, cough). The first personnel change was to bring in Aldridge and Schmidt. JC then threw a ten yard dart to Carlson. Nothing seemed wrong with his motion. Then Kamara, Reuland and Ragone were brought in. Schmidt saw a few carries and caught a nice 10 yard pass.

More running plays and more running plays. A pass complete in the flats to Hughes. And a 25 yard INT, picked off by #24 (fourth string safety?). On the INT I was disappointed with Kamara’s lack of fighting for the ball. On the very next play, Kamara lined up on the wrong side. JC yelled at him and as he was correcting himself, Weis whistled everything dead and had some strong words for the freshman. Hord quickly replaced him.

2 more pass plays where Clausen found no one and tucked the ball to run, both times to his right.

In comes Sharpley. Same OL and Carlson. Now with Parris, Grimes, West in a three receiver set (as opposed to the two TE’s JC had) and Jabbe at HB. Clausen had been operating out of a huddle, but Sharply ran a two-minute no-huddle drill. Almost every play was a pass. He wasn’t connecting perfectly. He looked mostly to Carlson. A few passes behind the big TE, a drop or two from Carlson. Sharply did move the team, though, bringing them from their own 40 or so down to the red-zone, mostly with short passes to Jabbe and draw plays to Jabbe. He was hurrying up the offense, getting the snap off as quickly as he could. In the end-zone he air-mailed some balls and Weis blew the whistle.

Jones’s team came out, with Thomas, Hord, Kamara, Yeatman and Carlson. He also ran something of a no-huddle, but not as up-tempo as Sharply. About 80% of the plays were passes. He connected with Thomas in the flats. He missed Yeatman. He threw a very poor INT to Walls that could have gone for 6 points the wrong way. He tripped (on the center’s feet? on his own feet?) and fell down. At one point he sent two TE’s wide, spreading 4 receivers and hitting Hord on a fifteen yard pass. The next two plays he hesitated, found nothing, tucked and ran.

Weis blew this whistle and brought in Bragg.

I will allow myself one comment: Asaph Schwapp is an enormous and angry man.


4 Responses to “Pratice Reports From Cartier Field”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    What is AS angry about?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Going on this post/practice breakdown we are in for some inconsistent QB play. Thanks in advance now when I see a few bonehead plays (as with the INT) I will be ready.

  3. sports Says:

    Hopefully AS is angry about producing and punishing people for yardage.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Just because Clausen ran 80% running plays means he won’t start? I find that kind of silly. First of all, in his first start of his career, would you have your QB throw 60-70% of the game? No, you would rarely even do that for a veteran in the NFL. Secondly, if he IS starting Saturday, would you have him gun it out in a practice session 4 nights before the game? Again, no. IT sounds like to me, that JC was teh best pure quarterback in the bunch. He did what he was asked to do and when he did throw, threw it very well.

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