Written by Jason Harris
Week 2 is well underway for the Bobcats as they continue their quest for another solid season in the Sun Belt Conference. Now moving to a two-a-day style schedule, it’s clear the ‘Cats are ramping up preparation. Opening day is only 17 days away.
“I think we had two good quality practices” Coach Franchione said after practice. “We got a lot done this morning, finished installation for the most part.”
The Bobcats were in shirts and shorts for the evening practice and focused on their passing game. “The receivers did not have a good morning” stated Coach Fran. “But they come back tonight and made up for it. They got open, ran good routes, quarterbacks got it to them, the protection held up and that was nice to see. Hard to get open on Mims and Mager though.”
- WR P.J. Anderson started off pass drills with an easy drop on a slant route. The quarterback put it right on the money too. Doesn’t get much easier
- QB Tyler Jones found Freshman WR Kolby Kolek on not one but two very nice deep routes. Kolek tracks the ball very well through the air but Jones put some nice touch on both passes.
- I said it once and I’ll say it again, WR Brice Gunter looks fantastic. His routes were crisp and smooth and he adjusts his body well in most situations to shield the ball from his defender. Still expecting big things from the red-shirt freshman.
- As the offense and defense came together for 7-on-7 drills, Tyler Jones continued to dazzle with the deep ball. Big Freshman TE Cameron Knight came down with a beautiful one-handed grab as he created just enough separation from his defender to make the catch. At 6’2, 250lbs he should provide Jones with a huge target in the middle of the field.
- Short slants and curls were also emphasized during the drill. Jones hung WR Ben Ijah out to dry on a slant across the middle but Ijah was still able to make the catch. He would have taken a serious pop from the defense though.
- S Trey Garrett came down with a good interception after WR Ryan Garrey bobbled a pass from the QB. Garrey also missed on a pass that hit him square in the side of his helmet. Needs to get his head around faster and find the ball.
- QB Fred Nixon has seemly taken over the back-up role but was a bit off with his passes tonight. Coach Fran spoke about it after practice saying Nixon was not the clear cut choice for the back-up QB role but that he has a better understanding of the offense at this point.
- LB Darnell Dailey read the quarterback’s eyes perfectly and stepped in front of a curl route for a picture perfect interception. Might have been six in a game situation.
- WR Demun Mercer missed on a nice deep ball to the end zone from QB Connor White. Looked like he slowed up on the route. Would have been six though. Easy. Mercer did redeem himself with a reception on a deep ball from Jones later in practice.
- Moving into 11-on-11, its clear WR Brandon Smith and Tyler Jones are developing a rapport. Jones looked to his wide receiver early and often in the drill and it paid off. We all know what Smith can do in the return game; I think this is the year he breaks out as a receiver.
- RB Stedman Mayberry scored the lone touchdown for the offense during the drill, following a tipped ball in the air he took it up the field 20 yards for the score.
It was the defense who shined for most of practice, holding the offense to just one touchdown and a lone field goal attempt that clanked off the right post. Jones had a nice scramble to find TE Brad Miller but it looked like the defense got to him first. There has been notable improvement on both sides of the field as both the offense and defense are making improvements daily. And with the offensive install nearly complete, it’s time for the Bobcats to put a little polish on as the approach their first game of the season.