OXNARD, Calif. – Here are some observations from the film room after Friday's practice in Oxnard:
- One of the best plays of the practice on Saturday, was the back shoulder throw by Tony Romo to Miles Austin. On the previous play, Murray runs the ball from the nine down to the four, Callahan wants to try and spread the defense by motioning Murray out of the back field to the right to create space but there is trouble with the alignment as the clock is winding down. Harris was moving to his left, Austin was shuffling in the slot to the right and Williams outside right didn't look too sure what he needed done so Romo has to burn a timeout with upsets Garrett at the time.
Out of the time out Murray right of Romo motions to his right, creating that adjustment that Callahan is looking for. Scandrick is in the slot over Austin has to widen to his left to split the difference between Murray, Williams and Austin to his side. Will Allen at safety is over the top and Sean Lee adjusts to his left to pick up Austin in the zone. Romo seeing all this knows that he no longer has Scandrick on Austin but now a linebacker. At the snap, the front of the pocket is clear which allows Romo the path to work the ball to Austin. Lee is playing Austin heavy inside which allows Austin to turn his body to the left as Romo throws the ball before he even turns to look for it. Allen sees what is happening but adjusts too late because of the route that Williams runs in front of him to the outside. Romo fits the ball between Lee and the driving Allen for the touchdown. Nice call setting up the separation but outstanding execution by Romo and Austin to make the play successful.
- The defensive stick of the day was delivered by Ernie Sims in the Play-It-Out period at the end of practice. With the second offense facing a 3rd - 1 to keep the drive going, Kiffin keeps his base defense on the field as Callahan sends Phillip Tanner in the game to attempt to convert the play along with his "12" personnel. Pre snap, Orton brings Rosario from the left outside across the formation to the right, stopping him just on the outside shoulder of Kowalski.
At the snap, Costa and Kowalski double down on Jeris Pendleton who is playing a cocked nose on Costa right shoulder. Pendleton does an outstanding job of holding that double team up which allows Sims to work off it to fill the hole. Rosario works outside to pickup J.J. Wilcox in the hole leaving Sims unblocked meeting Tanner in the hole. Sims is square in the hole and with the help of George Selvie who works down inside from his right defensive spot to stop Tanner before he can reach the first. It was a defensive scheme that was well executed because the field goal attempt by Spencer Benton on the next play was wide to the left and no good. Give a lot of credit to Jeris Pendleton, Ernie Sims and George Selvie for making that happen.
- If you had a chance to watch Training Camp Live from Saturday, you were able to observe, first year defensive tackle, Jerome Long getting a good bit of work with Landon Cohen and the other young defensive linemen. Long has been one of those players like Nick Hayden that has been showing up when given the opportunity. Long has really nice size at 6-4, 297 pounds but what you notice about him is not only his ability to play with quickness but power as well. He works well on the twist games or just as an upfield rusher.
At times, he has been difficult to block and been disruptive when on the move. I have admired how he has played against the run and it has been rare when he has been knocked off balance or washed out of a play. This afternoon in the Blue-White scrimmage he will be getting plenty of chances to improve on what he has done in this first week. Like Eric Rogers on the offense, he is one of those guys that has shown up on film at a position that is looking for rotational bodies.