The past two Heisman Trophy winners were redshirt freshmen quarterbacks. Is there another breakout…
Saturday Practice Spotlight
The theme of the day seemed to be young players making a move for playing time. Redshirt freshman cornerback Jermaine Kelly had his best practice of the spring, breaking up several passes and almost coming away with a pick on one of them. Junior wideout Jaydon Mickens was open momentarily on the sideline when Jeff Lindquist hurled a pass his way. Kelly, coming out of his backpedal smoothly, broke on the pass and got two hands on the ball, knocking it away. "Make that pick" was cry from Kelly's position coach, Jimmy Lake, along with several of his secondary teammates. Kelly's skillset has many believing that he will be the man who winds up lining up opposite Marcus Peters. He's over six feet tall and he's got a muscular frame and his big-play abilities had the old staff as well as the new one drooling over his potential. After a slow start this spring, Kelly appears to be finding a comfort zone and he appears to be more confident than we've seen all session long. "Jermaine's a great athlete," Peters said after the two-and-a-half hour practice. "He knows what to do and I think he's getting more confidence and that allows him to play fast. "He's long and athletic and he's got no fear. I try to show him different little things and he picks up on them pretty quickly, so I think he's really coming along." Pancakes anyone? - Dane Crane made his presence felt late in practice when he pancaked fellow redshirt freshman Elijah Qualls. On a running play to the right, Crane made the snap and instantly got his hands on Qualls, turning him and slamming him down on his back. Crane got up quickly and followed the play while Qualls stood up and looked to be a bit gimpy. He finished practice, but he had a noticeable limp for the remainder of the day. Perking up - With Austin Seferian-Jenkins leaving to pursue a career in the NFL, the tight end position is wide open for the taking and one player definitely making a move for playing time is Josh Perkins. The fourth-year junior looks very comfortable in the passing game and he's become a much better edge blocker. Lindquist found Perkins down the middle for a long gainer and there were several more times he was wide open and was missed. Offense wins the day - While players on both sides of the ball had to run "gassers" at different points in the practice, the defensive side of the ball was one that ran three as practice came to an end. While their pass-defense was solid most of the day, the defense definitely wasn't as stiff against the run as Deontae Cooper busting off two long runs and Lindquist found some running room as well. Quotable: Chris Petersen on further impressions after watching tape from the scrimmage on Thursday - "I thought the defense did a good job. It's so typical of spring practice…defense does a really good job, you come out the next practice and they don't do nearly the job they need to do. We have to learn how to compete at a consistent high level all the time." Marcus Peters on being the "old man" in the secondary - "It's hard to believe. It feels like just yesterday that I was the new kid here and now I'm the old man, along with Terrell (Dixon). I've always tried to lead by example, but it's even more important now that I'm the old guy. We have some really talented young guys and there's going to be a bunch here this summer and they will all be looking to guys like me to show them what works and what doesn't." Bob Gregory on how his position group is coming along - "We're making progress. We're making progress every day. Some days are better than other days, but we're definitely coming along. Obviously, we want them to come along faster, but the guys are out here playing hard and that's what we ask of them. Now they need to pick up the defense and I think we're getting there, but we still have a ways to go." Links: Quick Saturday Practice Report Saturday Practice Videos Chris Petersen Video/Quotes Jojo Mathis Video Shaq Thompson Video
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