By Jonathan Okanes
Sunday, August 12th, 2007 at 9:41 pm in Training camp.
It was a bad day for the offense and good one for the defense. The offense was plagued by fumbled snaps and botched exchanges, while the defense got a good dose of pressure on the quarterbacks throughout 11-on-11s.
Defensive end Tad Smith had a particularly impressive day. On back-to-back plays, he forced quarterback Nate Longshore into a hurry, then broke through the line quickly and jarred the ball loose from Longshore. Smith generally was in the backfield a lot when he was in there. He’s currently running with the first unit on the defensive line along with Cody Jones, Matt Malele and Tyson Alualu.
Linebacker Anthony Felder had a good practice, including a hard hit on running back Justin Forsett as he broke past the line up the middle.
Linebacker Zack Follett had the easiest of fumble recoveries, when Longshore and center Alex Mack couldn’t get together on the snap and the ball popped into the air and right into Follett’s waiting arms.
Fans might be interested to know that DeSean Jackson played the role of kick returner during special teams practice. The drill was for the kick coverage team, but it reinforces the idea that coach Jeff Tedford is going to take a look at Jackson as a kickoff returner this season.
Tedford called the race for the No. 2 quarterback job between Kyle Reed and Kevin Riley is still close. The team is holding a scrimmage Thursday, and Tedford said he will probably name the backup after that.
Tedford clearly was unhappy with the performance of the offense Sunday. “It was a very sloppy day for the offense. Missed assignments is what it is.”
On the injury front, Tedford said backup running back James Montgomery should return to practice in the next couple of days. Montgomery suffered a concussion Friday. There still is no word on when defensive lineman Derrick Hill will be ready. He hasn’t practiced yet because of back spasms.
Incoming freshman D.J. Holt hasn’t reported to camp yet because of academic requirements, according to Tedford. He’s expected to be ready by the end of camp or the beginning of the fall semester.