Practice Observations

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Practice Observations

We got to spend about 45 minutes at practice Friday and I wanted to pass along the following observations:

Chad KellyChad Kelly
Fr. Quarterback
# 6-3, 205
Buffalo, NY

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This was the biggest surprise to me. I guess I had been downplaying Kelly because of the twitter stuff and because I am excited about DeShawn Watson but Kelly really stood out Friday. He has great feet. In fact he has the best feet of any of the quarterbacks in my opinion. But the thing that really caught my eye was his arm. I watched Kelly make the same throws that Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
So. Quarterback
#8 6-4, 200
Dublin, OH

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and Morgan RobertsMorgan Roberts
RS So. Quarterback
#16 6-2, 200
Charlotte, NC

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were making and the ball looks different coming out of Kelly's hand. The combination of his live arm and his feet will make him a contender for playing time. With that said, we have no idea of how he will adjust to the speed of the game or his quick decision making skills. The position is so much more than just the physical tools but he is different than the current backups physically.

Bradley PinionBradley Pinion
Fr. Punter / Kicker
# 6-6, 220
Concord, NC

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The most impressive thing I saw Friday was freshman punter Bradley Pinion. Because the team was in shorts and because they spent so much time on special teams, we got a long look at the punters. They say when Tiger Woods hits a golf ball it sounds different, well the same can said for Pinion and his punting. He was booming these rocket ships into orbit. Pinion's distance and hang time were equally impressive. Special teams coordinator Danny Pearman said he told the staff that special teams were not different than any other position in that the best way to improve is through recruiting. If you want your return game to get better then sign a player like Sammy Watkins. If you want your punting to get better then sign a punter like Bradley Pinion. I asked Pearman about Pinion's get off time and he said that has not been an issue coming out of the spring.

Sammy the Coach

I was interested to watch Sammy Watkins help Germone HopperGermone Hopper
Fr. Athlete
# 6-0, 175
Charlotte, NC

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on just about every play. The All-American gave Hopper tips on where to line up and what routes to run as the offense was lining up. Watkins was praised for knowing so much about the offense last year and it was nice to see another coach on the field helping the talented freshman.

Slim Jims

It was pretty obvious to me that several of the offensive linemen had changed their bodies. Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS So. Offensive Line
#67 6-5, 335
Chester, SC

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does not anything close to the player he was when he first stepped foot on campus. Spencer RegionSpencer Region
RS So. Offensive Guard
#78 6-4, 370
Cullman, AL

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has also lost a ton of weight. The tackles like Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 300
Spartanburg, SC

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, Gifford TimothyGifford Timothy
RS So. Offensive Tackle
#70 6-6, 315
Middletown, DE

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, Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS So. Offensive Line
#73 6-6, 260
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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, Shaq AnthonyShaq Anthony
RS So. Offensive Line
#76 6-4, 275
Williamston, SC

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and Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Fr. Offensive Line
# 6-7, 265
St. George, VA

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look trim and athletic in shorts. The game is not played in shorts but this group did not look overweight in my opinion.

Two other players looked like they changed their bodies as well. Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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weighed in at 220-pounds which is the lightest he has been since he stepped on campus. Malliciah GoodmanMalliciah Goodman
Sr. Defensive End
#97 6-4, 280
Florence, SC

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lost 13 pounds and he looks much more athletic than this time last season.

Position Move

Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS So. Defensive End
#6 6-4, 270
Jacksonville, FL

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has been moved back to his natural position of defensive end. He never really looked like he was a defensive tackle kind of body and looks more natural at defensive end. This move gets a more athletic player in Barnes to the edge.

Knee Updates

Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 245
Hastings, FL

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wore a knee brace Friday but he did not show any visible signs of his knee surgery. Rashard HallRashard Hall
Gr. Safety
#31 6-1, 210
St. Augustine, FL

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did not wear a brace but he did have a small wrap on his knee. Like in Steward, I saw no visible signs of Hall's knee surgery.


Two true freshmen were not at Friday's practice. Tight end Jay Jay McCulloughJay Jay McCullough
Fr. Running Back
# 6-4, 235
Fort Mill, SC

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and defensive end Shaq Lawson were not practicing Friday. Both players are still waiting to be cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse.

Yellow Jersey

The only two players I noticed with injuries were Justin ParkerJustin Parker
Jr. Linebacker
#8 6-1, 225
Port Royal, SC

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and Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS So. Punter / Kicker
#36 5-11, 185
Alpharetta, GA

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. Parker has a hip issue and may red-shirt this season. Lakip has an ankle issue and is expected to be out about four weeks.

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Defensive Tackle
#98 6-2, 310
Thomasville, GA

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