By Brock Murphy, Lindy’s contributor
The North team practiced this morning at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and the South team will practice there this afternoon. This will be repeated tomorrow and it permits the NFL teams to see both teams practice rather than split resources to cover two simultaneous practices (as occurred Monday). Here’s a quick rundown on the North team.
North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon, Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Dysert and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib are the signal-callers for the North. They have been taking equal reps at practice. Yesterday’s rotations in 11 on 11’s started with Nassib and ended with Dysert. Dysert’s last rep may have been the most impressive as he hit Kansas State’s Ryan Harper on a deep route to end the session.
Today, Glennon was given the first reps in 11 on 11’s and, unfortunately, the very first snap was a dropped exchange under center. It is too early to read anything into the rotations but it is noteworthy that all of the quarterbacks pushed for routes downfield rather than settle with check-down receivers as was their cautious pattern early yesterday.
Oregon State Representing!
Oregon State put unexpected stress on the outcome of the Pac-12 standings with a stout performance in 2012. Their success can be assigned, in part, to the mighty contributions of two players who occupy positions on the North squad – cornerback Jordan Poyer and wide receiver Markus Wheaton. The ability for them to battle each other in practice every snap sharpened their respective units into top-20 groups (OSU ranked #20, nationally, in both passing offense and pass-efficiency defense).
Wheaton has been one of the more impressive receivers the past two days for the North. He is slippery and has caught nearly every ball thrown to him. He has been able to get behind coverage on several occasions. He catches the ball with his hands away from his body and tucks it tight.
Poyer’s name was mentioned by colleague and adversary alike during media night. Texas’ Marquise Goodwin identified Poyer as someone with whom he was familiar from their bowl game and as somebody whose great skills was only raising Goodwin’s own game.
Poyer is sticky. He is quick with his direction changes and neither seems flustered nor displaced.
Keep an eye on the Oregon State guys. They should impact this game and could find big roles on the next level.
Goodwin Continues to Impress
Former Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (two-time NCAA champion long-jumper) clearly demonstrated that he had an extra gear on the field yesterday. He caught the balls he should have caught and did so with his hands. He was quick to switch from catch to progressing up-field, and he was not afraid to scrap with a very physical group of corners.
Goodwin continued to catch balls today and get past defenders in drills.
With his elite speed and explosiveness in a small package, he is one of the more intriguing players this week.
UConn has a pair of cornerbacks at the Senior Bowl and both are having a good week, so far. Dwayne Gratz was one of the stickier cornerbacks in one-on-one drills with the receivers yesterday and continued that trend today. Meanwhile, UConn teammate Blidi Wreh-Wilson has quietly put in a solid two practices himself.
Michigan’s Denard Robinson is being worked at receiver but is in a yellow jersey like the quarterbacks. He showed some good moves today and continues to get work as a punt returner. He was kept out of yesterday’s drills but was allowed to mix it up a little today. In his first contested snap, he caught the ball in a crossing pattern off of a good separation move but was stripped of the ball. He was not included in the more intense 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. So, it is hard to tell whether and to what extent he can progress against actual opposition.
The North’s defensive backs are physical. Perhaps the most physical is former Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. Having two brothers in the NFL does not hurt but, whatever the reason he seems utterly at home in this environment. He is among the most physical player on the North’s defensive unit and has even hammed it up with the NFL Network staff on the sidelines following a few plays.