Full pads for today's afternoon practice. The injured list consisted of Isaiah Stanback, Stephen Hodge, Tim Anderson, Michael Hawkins and Alonzo Coleman. Before practice Sam Hurd took some reps as the backup holder on kicks while Mat McBriar is the primary holder.
After special teams drills they finally practiced real kickoffs. The first unit coverage team was Alan Ball, Orlando Scandrick, Justin Rogers, Deon Anderson, Sam Hurd, the kicker, Pat Watkins, Steve Ocatvien, Bobby Carpenter, Miles Austin and Gerald Sensabaugh. Returning the kicks were Felix Jones and Willie Reid. Folk had a couple of kicks that went to the 5-yard line and the 1-yard line while David Buehler put one 3-yards in the endzone, another to the 2-yard line and one that went 9-yards deep into the endzone.
After stretching, they practiced FGs, both Folk and Buehler looked good kicking the ball. They followed with a long session of position drills. One thing different about this camp is the variety of drills they are doing. At previous camps, the drills always seemed to be the same. This year, they are doing a lot of different ones, which should help the players stay sharp instead of just falling into a routine. For example, the offensive line was lining up with both hands on a small ball instead of one hand on the ground, and when they popped up out of their stance, they picked the ball up to their chest. My guess is this was to help them to get their hands up to their chest quickly when they come out of their stance. That is just one example of the variety of drills I'm seeing this year. They also spent some time practicing blocks against spin moves.
Next was a session of 7-on-7 at one end while the OL battled the DL at the other. This time, I followed the OL/DL matchup. One thing I noticed is that no matter how well the OL did, after each rep Hudson Houck was right in there critiquing and teaching. Colombo was able to push Brandon Williams wide the first time, the second time Williams got closer to the QB, but Colombo held him up. Bigg was able to stop Rat, the second time Rat tried to bull-rush but got off-balance and Bigg pushed him to the ground. Gurode rode Spears upfield past the QB, the next time Spears won the hand fight and Gurode was visibly mad at himself. Bowen put a nice move on Kosier for the win, the second time Kosier looked good. Ware circled around Flo and was probably too deep, but Flo never got his hands on him, Houck didn't like that. The next time Ware tired it again, but near the QB Flo got his hands on him to push him by. Octavien blew right by McQuistan, and got a good rush the second time but McQ managed to put up some resistance. Ryan Gibbons was good twice on Hatcher, then Marcus Dixon stepped in and was able to bull-rush Gibbons backward. Siavii tried a bull-rush on Procter but was leaning too far forward so Procter pushed him to the ground by the back of his helmet. Joans Seawright stepped in for Siavii and forced Procter to give up too much ground.
Holland stuffed Dixon in his tracks, and then Dixon tried a spin move next time but Holland was up to the task. Free had no problem with Victor Butler on the first go-round, the second time Free was good initially on Butler, but was moving too far back and Butler cut under him to the QB. Spencer was able to blow by McQ, he tried the same move a second time but McQ recovered at the last second for the save. Travis Bright looked OK on Dixon, the second time Dixon managed to push him back some but Bright never gave up the contact and held up well. Derreck Robinson blew up Greg Isdaner, actually knocking him to the ground, the second time Robinson beat him again, though not as easily.
Next came a session of 11-on-11. Romo dumped a short one to MB3 in the flats but Jenkins was there instantly for the stop. Spencer then blew through the blocking to stuff MB3 in the backfield. (BTW, Wade needs to put a coach along the line of scrimmage, Spencer was lining up off-sides almost every time). Roy got into a one-on-one with T-New on a bomb, but T-New was able to break up the pass. Crayton had a false start and was replaced, and then Witten caught one for about 8 yards between Bradie and Carpenter. Roy was able to out-leap Courtney Brown for a 10-yard catch. Kitna started by hitting Austin for about 25-yards between the linebackers and the safeties. Next was a short pass to Crayton with Alan Ball making the tackle. Derreck Robinson knifed through the blocking to probably tackle Choice in the backfield, it was a close call, Choice kept running and if it was a miss in the backfield then he had a big run. Lattimore took a pitch for around 10 yards before Hamlin2 made the stop. McGee threw one high out-of-bounds and then threw one short to Scott Chandler in front of DeAngelo Smith.
Romo was back and tried a hand-off but Spencer beat Kosier, who was pulling for a block, and made the stop. Ware and Brooking met at the QB for a sack, then Romo led Bennett by just a hair too much on a short pass, Bennett had the ball go off his fingertips. Austin caught a 10-yd comeback pattern in front of Jenkins, Felix tried a run up the middle, made a nice move to avoid a tackle then broke it outside. Crayton caught a short pass and Brown made the stop. Kitna dumped one off to Choice and while Choice was breaking it outside on the ensuing run, Bennett blew up Alan Ball who was trying to make the tackle, putting him to the turf and allowing Choice a big run. The gasp in the crowd was priceless, even Ball had to give Bennett a slap on the helmet in congratulations after he got up. (Corrected: I originally had Brown as the victim, I've been told it was Ball). Kitna threw a swing pass to Choice but Hamlin2 made the quick stop. Lattimore made a nice move in between two defenders for a decent run, Kitna dropped the snap on the next play, and then Choice had a nice run to the left side behind Gibbons and Free where he was untouched for about 20-yards. Rudy Carpenter closed out the practice with a short pass to Rodney Hannah and another short pass to Jesse Holley.