The second day of practice for the West crew was another vocal session with a lot less false start penalties and a lot more hitting than the previous practice.
LIKED WHAT I SAW
TE Dominick Wood-Anderson, Tennessee – Talk about showing up all over my notes, I used up a lot of ink with how many plays #84 made on day two. He was physical in pass pro drills, he sealed off Raequan Williams on a running play, he got open easily against Austin Lee as well as David Dowell in one on ones and made a diving catch on a low throw from Utah’s Tyler Huntley. Wood-Anderson just kept on screaming; “I’m a player, pay attention!” with the way he practiced out there. If you ask the safeties and linebackers on the west squad who their toughest tight end to cover is, I’m confident they will agree.
LB Casey Toohill, Stanford – Toohill is a long limbed linebacker in the traditional Stanford mold. He and the other linebackers have been working with Willie McGinnest this week and they have been soaking in the quality coaching from one of the best of all time. Toohill is a jack of all trades type that isn’t going to win the day out in coverage but he is athletic enough to cover in space, he was very effective as a blitzer in pass pro drills and he blew up a screen pass that forced a bad throw by Mason Fine. It’s like David Shaw has a carbon copy of what linebackers are supposed to look like in Palo Alto and this is his latest vintage.
RB Le’Vante Bellamy, Western Michigan – The guy has great change of direction and stop/start ability, which allows him to change his gears up and leave defenders in the dust. He did just that in two instances on the second day of practices for the west team in run drills. Bellamy was also able to haul in two passes with defenders draped all over him and although he is a diminutive runner at just 190 pounds, he plays a lot bigger and has the look of an Austin Ekeler type with his low center of gravity and explosive lateral ability.
WR Juwan Johnson, Oregon – The guy showed up looking like a rocked up tight end but he really does have some wiggle to his game and more speed than I expected. Johnson has also been victim of big receiver “Shaq” treatment from some of the defensive backs, audibly calling out that he needs the extra physical pressure. In day one he jumped up for a pass and flashed an almost 40-inch vertical in just a routine catch, so there’s some freaky athleticism going on here. What he’s going to be at the next level remains to be seen but there’s certainly a lot to work with here. He also won a one on one drill to end practice and force the defense to run laps.
TE Parker Houston, San Diego State – Yes, he is a repeat performer but it’s like he read yesterday’s notes and decided to make me pay for even questioning his receiving ability. He didn’t catch every single pass but he really did a good job looking passes in and making quality plays on the ball. What really impressed me is all the things he did today, he blocked, caught passes, ran all the drills and then proceeded to do some long snapping and looked damn good doing it. He’s not making any excuses, he’s taking any job you give him and getting it done. It’s official, Parker Houston is taking over St Pete… in an underground football player type way, though. Nothing illegal going on here.
WANNA GET AWAY
OT Branden Bowen, Ohio State – These first two days have been pretty lousy for Mr. Bowen. He did nothing but get beat and commit false starts yesterday and today was rinse wash repeat except for the penalties were finally alleviated. It was a long day of getting turned around and his lowlight of the Tuesday session was unfortunately getting flattened on his tail but Derrek Tuszka of North Dakota State in pass protection. Bowen has the length and there’s some athleticism to his game but it’s been tough sledding the first two days.