April 4, 2008

Week one....done

The small group of spectators watched in silence as he lay on the ground on the sidelines. Known for his 4.4 speed and immense potential, sophomore Darrell Catchings probably used too much of his speed to try to make a catch near the sidelines during Friday's practice. Racing to track down a Lyle Moevao pass, Catchings laid out, missed making a great catch, and then crashed into the padded wall inside the Merrit Traux Indoor Center. While the whole place went silent for a brief moment, Catchings took a second to catch his breath, got up and jogged back, which resulted in a sigh of relief from every coach, teammate, and fan in the building. So instead of a tragic conclusion to the Beavers' third spring practice, fans watched senior wideout Sammie Stroughter finish off a productive afternoon by making another great catch against the OSU secondary.

While the third team All-American had another quality day catching the ball, he also was like his normal self at practice, which was a great sign for any fan, that the return of the million dollar smile and dependable hands will be back in 2008. Here are some of the other things I witnessed at Friday's practice.

Practice went till almost 6 pm tonight, and the Beavers devoted almost half of it to work on the special teams. Kickers and punters got a chance to get some work in with recent graduate Alexis Serna helping instruct them. I saw a lot of improvement from back-ups Justin Kahut and Jake Webber, especially Kahut, who has added depth to his kicks. Webber still has a line drive kick but is a lot more accurate this spring campaign. None of the punters really stood out as they kicked to Stroughter, Catchings, and James Rodgers. On kickoff returns, Ryan McCants, James Dockery, Chris Johnson, and Bryan Payton were all getting some time as they worked on hitting the holes on kickoffs. While it seemed as though everything was running smoothly during the special teams drills, special teams coach Dave Ungerer still was getting upset at players for not going full speed, even though it was not a full contact practice.

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