MOBILE, Ala. – Here are some notes from the North squad following a Tuesday morning practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.
- Thought it was a much better practice for Stanford defensive end, Trent Murphy. He played with much more effort and technique than he did on Monday. He has always been one of those guys that was a high motor and effort player and he showed that. He was blocked far too often on Monday, struggling to get to the ball. In this practice, it didn’t matter whether he was going against Seantrel Henderson or Jack Mewhort, he was on his game. There were rushes where he did not give these tackles much of a hitting surface to work with, he was able to get around the corner and showed those skills that we all believed he had.
- With the success that the Seattle Seahawks have had with their size in the secondary, it’s real easy to say how the Cowboys need to go out and draft bigger corners. Every team in the league want corners that have size but the trick is to find ones that have size but can also play. Where Phil Savage has helped these teams is bringing corners that do have some size to them. On the North squad, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Dontae Johnson measured over 6-2, while on the South team, Keith McGill was over 6-3. When you look at these taller corners, what you have to be careful with is how do they move? Usually long legged defensive backs take more time to turn and react. There is a scouting term that you might hear which says that a cornerback is a little “leggy”. It’s nice to have the height on the outside but if you don’t react or move with any quickness, there is a chance that you will get beat on routes.
- I could see why people are getting excited about the play of Michael Sam and what he was able to accomplish while he was at Missouri. This week in practice, these North coaches have thrown him a bit of a curve ball and are trying to play him at strong linebacker. To Sam’s credit, he is doing the best that he can and trying to work through the position. Where he is at his best is rushing the passer and you could see that during the practice on Tuesday. When he has to drop into coverage, he has no chance. There is just too much stiffness, where when he is coming off the edge, he doesn’t show that at all. Sam is a really good player and a smart team will find a spot for him to play but that spot doesn’t look like at outside linebacker.
- There are two receivers on the North squad that have jumped out at me and that is Josh Huff from Oregon and Jared Abbrederis from Wisconsin. I wrote about Huff earlier this morning and what he has shown. Abbrederis is one of those players that doesn’t look like he is running fast or quickly but he is always finding ways to get open. It was rare to see him drop a ball in these practices and with the struggles of these quarterbacks, he has had plenty of opportunities to catch a lot of bad balls. What I have liked about Abbrederis how he fights for the ball when it is in the air. Even when defensive backs have him covered, he comes down with it. He really isn’t afraid to take his routes all over the field and you have to respect that about him. Both these receivers are really good players and would play well wherever they go.