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Dr Z

Photography & Notes [Practice #4— 3/16]

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Here are some photos from this morning.

 

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A couple of things I noticed from yesterday's practice.

 

Practice is so up tempo and organized. I am amazed at how smooth and quick everything seems to run with coach Arth being in his first year.

 

Coach Arth is very hands on. I see him running defensive routes while teaching receivers how to get out of their breaks, I see him teaching defensive players hand technique. He distributes his time all over the practice field. You can actually see how much he enjoys the teaching process. 

 

I’m starting to believe the "we are going to keep local kids local." It was junior day yesterday, I have never seen so many high school kids and coaches at a practice. They gave everyone a presentation on a big screen after practice. Coach Arth is not going to get out worked.

 

I was told Kelvon Blackmon is new (walk on) to the roster. 

 

I saw Wofley and Alce make nice one hand catches on swing pass out of the backfield. I can't see why both won't play a part in any offense that the Zips run. 

 

For those that like the 3-4 defense, I can see the versatility that some on this roster have to offer in the scheme. Lots of different players rushing the QB from different angles. It seems like this  scheme has the ability to pressure a QB with athletic ability and confusion. 

 

A sidelined Keyondre White and Deltron Sands gave Devanier Floyd a chance to run the ball, he sure was shifty in the open field.

 

If I’m a QB, one of the first things I do when I get to line, is find #1 on defense, he still has the uncanny ability to get his hands on the ball.

 

I thought Kato and Rob looked good many times today. Some quick decisions were being made in the seven on seven drills. 

 

I'm sorry to say I will be out of town for the spring game, I am depending on some good ZipNation reports to catch me up. I think ZipsNation will enjoy watching these guys. The buzz around practice is that the players are very excited about the staff, and have enjoyed #OurWay thus far. 

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The updates on Alvin are very encouraging. I saw corner as the biggest hole on the team coming into the season, but never really thought moving him there would be an option. Glad he has looked just as effective there. Probably a good thing for both the team and himself honestly, as I'd think he has a better chance at the next level at CB than S, due to his size. Maybe I was mistaken, but I always looked at him at the "QB" of the defense back there at S. He  was an active communicator. I wonder who is going to assume that role.

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Scrolling through Dr Z's photos, one thing that sticks out is the youth of this staff compared to Bowden's. Some of these guys are 30...40 years younger than some of those in the Bowden/Amato crew. There's a different form of engagement with the players during the drills, and a different level of energy. 

 

When I watch a practice I try to look at things from the Coach's perspective and see who really stands out. In one drill there were 20 guys running through cones, then tackling a dummy. Maybe 15 of them looked identical. A few showed techniques and speed that stood out, and a couple guys...probably won't be bucking for a starting position this fall. Guys like Alvin Davis, Josh Ward, Boogie and Bubba can be fun to watch, even in drills, because their technique stands out.

 

If you are looking for a  great stock to buy low, with huge upside, get in early on Freshman fullback Abe Alce (ALL-cee). With Deltron Sands and Keyondre White sitting out, Abe got a lot of reps. He's big, fast (for his size) and consistently shows soft hands when pulling in those almost-out-of-reach swing passes. I expect he's going to be a big part of our offense this upcoming season.

 

Saturday was the first time the kickers were showcased under rush conditions. Cory Smigel is a tiny kid with a big leg. His ball gets in the air quickly, and in the difficult-to-gauge environment of the indoor practice facility, showed good accuracy from 40 yards-in. Sophomore Jonah Wieland (Hudson) also had a couple nice kicks, but had one blocked. 

 

Keyondre White and Andy Jean-Baptiste didn't play. Likewise, no Reggie Corner was seen in the secondary.

 

Redshirt Freshman Jaylen Hooks (Warren Harding) got some reps at cornerback.  Another redshirt Freshman, Rich Hall, got some reps in the secondary. Physically, Hall looks like he can step in and play immediately.  

 

In scrimmage situations, Kato gets the "first team" reps. As of March 16th, Robbie Kelly seems to be the leading candidate for the #2 QB position.

 

@Dr Z mentioned Kelvon Blackmon as a player who tried-out as a walk on and was given a roster spot. Another is 5' 6" 165 lb Brandon Lee. Brandon played WR last week, this week he was in the backfield. He's REALLY tiny, and REALLY fast. It will be interesting to see if he can find his way on to the playing field this upcoming season.

 

Liking what I've seen from Bubba Arslanian at LB thus far. He's a strong kid with a nose for the ball. He runs all his drills with great technique, and at high speed. Yet another guy that will be fun to chronicle once the tackling begins (all drills and scrimmage situations thus far are non-contact).

 

It was nice to see so many high school kids attending the practice. The Ignatius HC and Maple Heights HC were there. Probably also several HC's that I didn't recognize. 

 

 

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Thanks to CK & Dr Z, I think we are getting a great assessment of our team.  It seems like we haven't missed a beat.  The one thing that stands out to me from your observations is how Arth interjects himself in multiple position drills.  Perhaps coming from FCS where you must be able to develop players to be successful is just what we need.  Additionally, spending an hour with HC's and potential recruits really sends a message.

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What Captain said about the new staff is so true.  I had a chance to interact with several of the coaches (and players) when they volunteered as timers at the MAC Swimming and Diving Championships last month and they are great - young, enthusiastic, seem to be already liked and respected by the players who were there. Great attitudes, great senses of humor....

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9 hours ago, Ham said:

Thanks to CK & Dr Z, I think we are getting a great assessment of our team.  It seems like we haven't missed a beat.  The one thing that stands out to me from your observations is how Arth interjects himself in multiple position drills.  Perhaps coming from FCS where you must be able to develop players to be successful is just what we need.  Additionally, spending an hour with HC's and potential recruits really sends a message.

We're lucky to have CK and Dr. Z! Appreciate all the info.

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