Over 60 high school recruits from seven different states were in attendance for Akron's Junior Day and sixth practice session Saturday morning at Stile Field House. The juniors watched the first half (about an hour) of practice and were then split up into groups for tours.
Here some notes from practice:
Continuing a theme from the first five sessions, the defense was way ahead of the offense for the first hour. The secondary once again looked solid. Junior Bill Alexander looked especially fluid and was often right in the back pocket of who ever he lined up against.
The defensive line also made some strides. Sophomore lineman Isiah Williams was routinely in the backfield and deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Defensive end Albert Presley, in particular, has garnered praise from a coaching staff looking to fill holes left by Brian Wagner and others.
"The defensive front seven is a bunch of no-names nobody has ever heard of," head coach Terry Bowden said. "We need to find the right guys to fill these holes. The one guy who has stood out has been Presley. His great take-off and pass-rushing skill makes him stand out because of his speed."
After the "halftime" break, the offense found its rhythm.
Junior quarterback Clayton Moore looked great as the offense began to throw downfield. He had zip on the ball, found receivers in traffic and twice found sophomore L.T. Smith--a converted defensive back--streaking down the sideline for passes (Bowden really liked how Smith looked today).
Once the offense put a little downfield pressure on the defense, things opened up.
"In the first half, the defense kept making play after play behind the chains," Bowden said. "We couldn't get a first down. Then in the second half we decided to throw quick and throw deep and scored four or five times. The defense at on their heels and the offense scored at will."
Moore and Williams separate themselves at QB
Bowden says he still doesn't have a clear No. 1 quarterback, but did say that Moore and senior Dalton Williams have separated themselves as the top-2 options.
Bowden spoke about Moore's progression as a leader.
"Clayton is coming along, he just needs to believe in what we're teaching hmi about being a leader all the time, showing poise all the time and never stepping off that pedastal," he said. "You always know the other 10 guys in the huddle are looking to you for leadership. He's getting better at that."
Bowden also says redshirt freshman Kyle Pohl is making a strong push past Patrick Nicely as the No. 3 option.
Jawon Chisholm might be capable of running through a brick wall. Chisholm spent most of Saturday morning bouncing off (and through) the Zips' defense. He also had a great stiff-arm that led to a 25-yard run down the sideline.
The hit of the day may have belonged to freshman Carl Washington, who crushed 6'3 receiver Marquelo Suel just as the ball arrived to break up the play.