What is it about shoulder pads?
After a couple of practice sessions where the Akron Zips concentrated on the work they mixed in a tad more intensity during Monday’s practice session. No fewer than few fights broke out as linebackers mixed it up with offensive linemen and even defensive backs tried to throw a few haymakers at the offensive line. The latter looked particularly ridiculous as the DBs resembled Smurfs jumping up to beat up on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It was comical. And the intensity was welcomed, but they got more than a bit ridiculous, so much so that Bowden halted practice at one point. Think he was happy?
“Out here they know it's play fighting. It's fun. But they do it too much and it ruins my practice. I get mad. To me it has to be undisciplined,” he said. “We have to really be disciplined to go from where we were last year to where we want to go this year. I think that's just an example of understanding the total package. Toughness doesn't come from fighting. Toughness comes from doing everything right.”
A couple of things started to come into focus:
- Quarterback: Sophomore Kyle Pohl did himself no favors. To open 11-on-11 drills, he threw two consecutive interceptions one to safety Anthony Holmes and the other to linebacker Justin March. Dalton Williams fared much better on the day connecting with beautiful passes to sophomore wideout L.T. Smith and running back Tyler Williams. Looking for someone who gained an upper hand in the quarterback competition, today it was Dalton Williams.
- Offense: In addition to Dalton Williams, a couple of wide receivers showed up. First up: 6-foot-5 junior Jerrod Dillard made some nice catches for most of the day before marring the effort with a drop on an easy five-yard out pattern. Green’s Andrew Pratt – also 6-foot-5 - caught absolutely everything thrown his way, including a score. He impressed Bowden. These guys can offer speed, but their height makes for a big target and makes it easy for them to go up and get balls. While they offer size on the outside, in 5-foot-11 Dylan Potts, the team may have an effective slot guy. His yards after catch impressed on several occasions and could have scored on at least two of the plays.
- Defense: Justin March had a nice afternoon with the previously mentioned pick and at five-yard tackle for loss. Overall they showed intensity, but you have to wonder if that got the best of them as the fights that broke out they usually started.