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Louisville Football Open Practice Report: Practice Two

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 17 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The second open practice kicked off this morning and we got another fairly boring day from the team. There weren’t many miscues outside of the offense lining up wrong a handful of times. We saw some drops from the receivers but nothing1 that was alarming.

The defense won the day in the team segments which isn’t abnormal. I wouldn’t say that anyone is standing out as much better than anyone else from an individual or position standpoint which is what is leading to the “boring” aspect of things. It’s a positive in my opinion because there are no glaring weaknesses to pick out. That’s not always been the case.

OFFENSE

  • I know it sounds dumb but Jack Plummer really just looks like a quarterback out there. There’s nothing flashy about him and there are no real issues that have shown up so far. He and Jamari Thrash also appear to have a very good connection. I’ve only seen one throw that was off-target between the pair.
  • Brock Domann and Evan Conley looked much better today. Both guys hit receivers more consistently and seemed to have better timing. Khalib Johnson continues to underthrow the ball on throws down the field. I’d love to see some improvement there by the spring game.
  • All of the running backs have great speed but Maurice Turner was the guy that seemed a step faster today. There’s not much to learn about these guys in practice but Turner and Jawhar Jordan split the reps with the first group today.
  • William Fowles started off the day with me thinking he could be the third starter at receiver but he had a couple of mistakes and ended up missing a few opportunities to make standout plays.
  • Jamari Thrash and Kevin Coleman continued to stand out above the rest of the receiver group. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce was a victim of some off-target passes but he hasn’t made as many plays as Coleman in the slot.
  • Garick McGee did have slot guys separate from outside receivers during some drills today. Coleman, AHB, and Cataurus Hicks all ran with the slots.
  • At this moment, I would say that the third wide receiver spot is wide-open. Jimmy Calloway is getting the first reps as of now, but I could see Fowles, Chris Bell (once healthy), or Jalen Thompson (also once healthy) getting a shot.
  • Tight ends had a rough day across the group. Jeff Brohm started the practice having to correct the tight ends when they lined up incorrectly and he ended the practice by actually yelling at them when the issue persisted.
  • The offensive line looked better today in full pads. They opened some big holes for the running backs that got them into the third level. They had some issues with pass blocking but I think that will improve as guys get more comfortable.

DEFENSE

  • The defensive line was without Dez Tell today as he worked out on the side of the field. It didn’t look like anything serious to me but I obviously don’t know any details.
  • Tawfiq Thomas slid in with the first group at nose tackle while Jermayne Lole moved to defensive tackle. That’s 630 pounds in the middle for the defense which is something we just haven’t seen here at Louisville. Some SEC schools don’t even have that available to them.
  • Stephen Herron put on a show in one-on-one drills against the offensive line that drew a reaction from the fans. He beat every lineman that stepped up to face him and had a particularly impressive rep against Isaiah Reed that left him standing still and completely whiffing on his block. The rest of the defensive line was amped up after that.
  • Gilbert Frierson ran with the first group today in place of TJ Quinn. This seems like the spot that will have the most competition this spring. Frierson got his hand on another pass in coverage today that could have been picked off. He did the same on Tuesday.
  • The only other notable thing I saw from the defense was KJ Cloyd and Jackson Hamilton shooting gaps to get into the backfield. Cloyd had a tackle for loss on the first play of the live-hitting scrimmage segment.
  • Antonio Watts moved out to the nickel/rover position behind Ben Perry and he made a nice hit on one play. I also thought he did pretty well in coverage.
  • Jarvis Brownlee had at least two interceptions today and he looks like the veteran corner on this team which is a great sign. Going all the way back to Charles Gaines it’s been obvious when guys turn that corner and start to show some dominant play in practice. Not to say that Brownlee didn’t have a rough moment or two but he challenged every receiver he went against and made a handful of plays.
  • It was a pretty uneventful day for the secondary but MJ Griffin has looked very good to me. He’s in the right spot on every play I’ve watched and he has been exceptional in coverage when the team is doing one-on-ones. Griffin, Perry, and Ashton Gillotte continue to be the guys that give me the most confidence out of the defensive guys. They just seem to be absorbing the new defense the best.
  • I missed special teams on Tuesday but we got an extended look at the punters today with Brady Hodges and Brock Travelstead splitting reps. Hodges took the first snaps but Travelstead had the best dad. He boomed at least three punts that drove the returner back to make the catch. They all had great distance but also really good hang time. Travelstead hasn’t been able to get on the field outside of kickoffs, but if he can continue to be consistent with his punting, I could see him winning the job.

NOTES

  • Quincey Riley, Jadon Thompson, and Josh Minkins started the practice working out on the sideline again. Riley ended up returning punts and doing drills with the corners later in the practice but didn’t join any of the live team segments.
  • I didn’t see Pierce Clarkson until the very end of practice but he is no longer in a boot but is wearing one of those sandal-looking things that they put people in before they can get back into a shoe.
  • TJ Capers was the only recruit that I could pick out. It helps that he wore a custom Louisville jersey with his name on it but he is also physically built like a guy who is already ready to play. Steve Wiltfong at 247 posted a few of the visitors from this weekend but I’ll also have a list with some highlights and analysis up soon.
  • The different approaches of the coaching staff are extremely interesting to me and maybe only me. Steve Ellis and Ron English are extremely loud and they yell. A lot. Mark Ivey and Mark Hagan are much quieter while also being just as talkative. Each play is followed up by instruction with Ivey spending a lot of time focusing on Stanquan Clark today. On the other side, the offensive coaches are all pretty calm. Richard Owens got a little loud a couple of times but the group as a whole got up close with players to provide direction.