Scrimmage No. 1: What The Film Revealed

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After watching the film from the Owls' first of three scrimmages this spring, David Bailiff realized that his defense didn't play that poorly. Some of the blown assignments and misalignments came courtesy of younger players attempting to make pushes for spots on the depth chart. In the final analysis Bailiff lauded his defensive line, and singled out the efforts of safeties Paul Porras and Joe Leary, both of whom played with a physicality the Owls desperately need on defense.

At this point it appears as though Porras, a redshirt freshman, and Leary, a converted cornerback who missed the 2009 season with a hamstring injury, will earn spots in the rotation. Despite the glut of returning players the Owls welcome back in their secondary, the inconsistency at safety is worrisome. The Owls could use some toughness at the position, too, a fact that creates opportunities for Porras and Leary to seize. If Porras and Leary keep ascending, perhaps some veterans will wake up. Bailiff would embrace that development.

On Thursday, it was difficult to not notice RS Fr. DT Hosam Shahin (6-3, 275), who should be up to 285 pounds by the start of the season. He was active thanks in part to his growing trust of his instincts and his improved technique. Shahin was a raw athlete when he arrived from Canada, but he needed direction. A full season of learning seems to have served him well, and with the Owls intent upon moving Sr. DE Scott Solomon inside, the depth at tackle will only improve if Shahin continues to grow into his athleticism. With So. DT Alex Lowry and Jr. DTs Michael Smith and John Gioffre, the Owls will have the numbers inside to complement their quality options at end where Solomon, Sr. Cheta Ozougwu (who has had an 'amazing' set of spring practices), Sr. Kramer Lucio (solid as always) work as veterans and RS So. Jared Williams, So. Cody Bauer (out this spring - knee) and RS Fr. Josh Skinner enhance the depth.

The receivers have been maligned, but Bailiff was happy with the physical blocking of Sr. Corbin Smiter and RS So. Denzel Wells. RS Fr. Andre Gautreaux continues to improve and work his way into the mix, but there are miles to go before the rotation at receiver is settled.

RS So. OL Eric Ball has made his intentions clear: he plans on being a starter at guard.

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Thanks for the notes, MK. I was glad to hear Bailiff talking about player accountability after the first scrimmage of the spring, instead of the 7th game of the season. More evidence of a new attitude, it seems. Definitely rooting for Leary to make the full comeback, and it seems like the positive words given our to Porras match the accolades coming from the rivals site. Improvement, to me, seems more likely to come from new players with different ability given a shot, rather than some of our returnees suddenly figuring things out (though I obviously hope we see examples of both).

If our OL remains shaky, does that give McHargue an edge at QB?

At Ease: One would hope that the OL doesn't remain shaky, but from what I've seen Cook can move well. Not as good as McHargue, but he does run well. - MK

OT -- MK -- any word on the starting rotation for this weekend?

owl-1983: Wall, Anagnostou and Cingrani - in that order. - MK

Any further detail on Ball? Has he put on extra strength this winter? Been dominating 1-on-1 drills?

Is Janisch healthy?

At Ease: Janisch is fine, and he looks bigger, stronger, faster than last season. Ball just gets it, and his versatility (he plays both center and guard) makes him an asset. He has a great work ethic and tenacity that reminds me of Jake Hicks. He'll stick. - MK

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