Senior Bowl Day 1 Quick Hits
MOBILE-The first full day of action at the 2010 Senior Bowl has come to a close. Both teams went through weigh-ins this morning and then took part in their first practice of the week later in the afternoon. NFP columnist Joe Fortenbaugh and I attended the North practice session today, as well as “Senior Bowl Media Night,” which took place at the USS Alabama battleship.
Here’s some of what’s been going down…
1. Clemson wideout Jacoby Ford was impressive today. He was explosive off the snap, ate up the cushion quickly and consistently separated all afternoon vs. man coverage. On a day in which the North quarterbacks struggled with their accuracy, Ford repeatedly found ways to make the tough catch. When we asked him after practice where he feels most comfortable playing at the next level, Ford responded, “Both ways [in the slot or outside] are fine with me. I just want to get out there and make plays.”
2. Due to the morning weigh-ins, Monday is the only day of the week in which both teams practice at the same time (but at different locations). Word on the street is that the South practice was loaded with fans and talent evaluators due to the presence of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. He is definitely the hot ticket in Alabama this week.
3. We got an opportunity to speak with Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount after the North team’s practice. Blount was suspended for two months after the now-infamous incident at Boise State back in September. When we asked him about his disappointing senior season and whether or not he felt fortunate to be at the Senior Bowl, Blount replied, “I’m extremely thankful I’ve been given a second chance.” Blount looked impressive when asked to run downhill in I-formation sets today.
4. Several players, including Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike and South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood, turned out to be excellent interviews at Media Night (podcasts coming soon). But we were most impressed with Ole Miss running back/wide receiver Dexter McCluster. The speedster was extremely comfortable in the setting and is very grateful for the opportunity to showcase his talents in Mobile this week. If he wasn’t already, Fortenbaugh is now McCluster’s biggest fan.
5. Massachusetts offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse looked good at the weigh-in today and showcased impressive range off the edge in pass protection at practice. He really generates good power on his punch and looks like a guy who could play four spots on the offensive line at the next level.
6. Since Tim Tebow was not present for Media Night (still not sure why), somebody had to step up as the most popular player in the room. That honor was bestowed upon former Florida State safety Myron Rolle, who took the last year off from football to study at Oxford University. Rolle had a microphone or recorder in his face from the start of the interview process until the end. This will be a big week for him.
7. The ACL injury to Wisconsin defensive lineman O’Brien Schofield was very unfortunate. We wish him a speedy recovery.
8. California cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson once again failed to impress me during practice on Monday. He looks uncomfortable in his backpedal, has a tendency to open up his hips too early and struggles to turn and run down the field.