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Defense dominates spring game

By mrasor Published: April 15, 2007

Doug Williams
emphatically capped a sensational spring with two sacks and a blocked field goal in the Blue-Gold game.
The defense won 28-10. The only offensive points came from a Sean Hakes-to-Marcus Patterson touchdown and 49-yard Matt Domonkos field goal.
Let's get back to Williams, though, who showed that he can go beyond being serviceable, and perhaps become a star.
"Doug has had the best spring on anyone on the team," coach J.D. Brookhart said. "It's great to have a big body at linebacker who can cover and blitz."
Overall, spring football games are fairly dull. You try to watch specific positions and players, but that is difficult for anyone (like me) who's not a scout.
Here are some notes:

    Earlier this week, Brookhart mentioned Yamari Dixon's progress. I tried to watch him a bit. He's the type of safety who swarms to the ball and uses the crown of his helmet as a sledgehammer. Although Andre Jones is ahead of him on the depth chart, it might be hard to keep Dixon off the field.
    Speaking of Jones, he had a nice leaping interception on a Chris Jacquemain pass.
    Some of the snaps in the shotgun set were a bit off. Not every bad snap results in a turnover or lost down, but each takes a fraction of a second away from the offense. To the coaching staff's credit, they have been working on it every practice.
    I have never been so excited to see a kicker as I am about Igor Iveljic. Both of his field goal attempts were blocked. Williams batted down the first. Nate Robinson got a finger on the second.
    It's time for my daily "the sky is falling" chat about the defensive line. Actually, they didn't look bad today. They plugged some holes and allowed playmakers to roam more freely. I'm becoming more confident in the front three. After that, it's a real crap shoot. And we all know Robinson has shown the conditioning of Homer Simpson in the past, so depth will be crucial. Robinson, Jared Cecchetti and Eric Lively should be OK, "then you've got a ways to go with the others," Brookhart said.
    The offense appeared fairly conservative. That could be for two reasons: the quarterbacks are inexperienced or the top playmakers ( Jabari Arthur and David Harvey) are missing. Brookhart acknowledged his play calling was about 85 percent run.
    Sean Hakes is looking better each practice. He needs to learn the lesson Charlie Frye learned last year, however. Not every play can go for a touchdown, or even be completed. He did that once and nearly plugged the tuba player's instrument, which gave me a chuckle.
    At halftime, there was a field-goal kicking contest. I think I heard the participants were Akron soccer players. Anyhow, one guy drilled a 35 yarder and was only a yard short for a 45 yarder. I wish I had a dollar for everyone in the field house who turned to a buddy and said, "Can we sign this guy up?"
    Andrew Johnson got a lot of carries for a guy who won't play for 16 months. Dennis Kennedy played the first few series and looked decent. I don't remember seeing him much more than that. Nor do I remember Alex Allen.
    After a couple John Stec punts dinged the ceiling, the punters began to use a roundhouse-type motion for kicks that kept balls pretty low. The punts weren't that effective, so I hope it was done only to combat the ceiling.
    Matt Domonkos' 49-yard field goal showed the coaching staff was right about his improved leg strength. Of course, distance was never really his problem.
    I caught up with Andy Alleman after the game. His agent is telling him he will be drafted somewhere between pick 45 and 70. No. 65 is the Browns' third-round selection. The team's offensive assistant, Frank Verducci, helped to train Alleman before the draft before Verducci started that job. Alleman is leaving tomorrow for New Orleans to work out for the Saints.
    I also chatted with Hakes and Carlton Jackson after the game. I think I'm going to write my column on those conversations (somehow).


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