Some observations from Thursday morning

I was able to attend the start of practice Thursday. I have talked to several folks who have seen them all. And, some who have seen the scrimmages. What is noticable is that this team is faster and more physical. It’s clearly better at quarterback.

One veteran observer thinks KJ Jefferson is going to be a really good player in time and imagines a package that will include some QB runs. He’s a tailback playing QB. He’s not as accurate as the other three on a consistent basis, but has a gun.

Nick Starkel is clearly bigger and stronger than the rest of the QBs. Just looks like a big athlete, although his speed is not anything special. The ball does come out of his hand really well.

It’s not like Ryan Mallett, Joe Ferguson or Tavaris Jackson, but it’s strong.

Speaking of Mallett, I talked with him at practice today. He’s slim and trim. Looks like he did in college. He’s dropped about 40 pounds since the end of football season last year.

“My lady friend (and I took that as his girl friend) cooks great and it’s all healthy,” he said. “I didn’t know eating healthy could taste so good. I was at 270 and I’ve dropped all of that extra weight and feel wonderful. I had a wonderful turkey burger last night. I’m moving and feeling better. I’m working out every day and hoping for a call to play some place.”

Mallett told me his lady friend is from Lead Hill. I know that area and it’s great if you like outdoors and fishing. Ryan grew up more of a city boy, but he’s gravitating more to the outdoors and loves to duck hunt. He’s fishing more. He looked and sounded great to me.

Back to the Hogs, this looks more like an SEC team than the last couple of seasons. The offensive line has a solid look to it. I really like Myron Cunningham. He was running with the ones at left tackle today with Colton Jackson nursing a foot injury that required a couple of days off. Colton has had a good fall, according to everyone. But he better get back out there soon because Cunningham could take that spot and never look back.

I like the way Dalton Wagner moves at right tackle. Kirby Adcock and Shane Clenin are no slouches at guard, either. There is little doubt that Ty Clary is much improved.

Depth everywhere is much improved. That’s the big difference between last year this time. It just looks like more guys could be ready to play in an SEC game.

Of course, I tend to look at offensive linemen the most and that’s what I did today. But I did get good looks at some of the QB drills. They all throw it more accurate than what the QBs did last year. This team catches it better, too.

If you don’t like Treylon Burks and Trey Knox, then you don’t know football. They jump out at you just the way they warm up and act. And, they are the real deal from everyone who sees practice daily. One day maybe Burks looks the best. Then, the next day it’s Knox. But they rarely have a bad day.

If Jalen Catalon is not a player, I’ll be stunned. And, the one who jumps off the page when you watch him move and explode to the ball is Joe Foucha. He’s got a captivating personality, too. So does Catalon.

I tend to hang out with oldtimers and former coaches and there are several who see practice on most days. They like this team.

No, I’m not ready to make any predictions, but this team is headed in the right direction in year two under Chad Morris.

FYI, I got to visit with Grant Morgan’s dad before practice. Grant did graduate in pre-med (with almost a 4.0) and is now in grad school. He’s the kind of player who is going to do everything right and help the team in many ways. He’s learned both linebacker spots, although Hayden Henry has now done that, too. I like the depth at this position and believe John Chavis has improved this unit in many ways. You’d expect that from a great linebacker coach and The Chief is that.

Thanks for the insights. Competition is a great motivator. Would like to see more comments as it fits on the dual field approach. Team will be much better by end of year if we can avoid injuries at critical spots. The youth numbers and quality on this team is impressive. Early signs are recruiting for 2020 is on track for another good class. Impressions much better since SEC Media days

Thanks Clay very encouraging post coming from you.
You could have at least hinted at some sort of a prediction to perk up our ears :ear::grimacing:

Clay, what stands out about your posts is you don’t just report what you see, you provide judgement. You talk to people with knowledge and insights and we get much more depth from you. Keep it up.

Great report Clay! I want this team to be good so bad and hopefully they will your words are encouraging because I respect your opinion thanks for the report! put a little pep in my step after a rough work out today LOL

Youdaman, you will bounce back. That’s the good thing that I know about you.

One of the things I tried to watch was pad level. I was encouraged by both Myron and Dalton at the two tackle positions. They are big men. That doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get the pads down. Kirby Adcock still has work to do there, as noted by Dustin Fry after practice today. But they are all being held to a standard to play lower and that’s the only way you’ll block anyone in the run game. You like that length and height in pass protection, but you have to get the pads down and bend at the waist. Myron does that like a pro. Dalton is better. That’s one of the things I like from Capps, too.

Clay…thank you for the honest feedback and plethora of information on the team. I wish there had been more because it had me locked in word for word. It has been a rough week from all angles for me and reading this report put a smile on my face. It tells me we are trending in the right direction. It appears we had a ton of talent (albeit young in lot of spots) on this team if the O Line has improved then we will see it show up every game!

Time for a good report on the D Line and DB’s once you stop staring at the big ugly’s on the O side of the ball… :lol:

Thanks again sir!

Yeah, I did watch the D-line a bit. The tackles were doing sled drills that emphasized punch. I don’t know that I could tell a whole lot. I watched one drill that worked on defensive ends trying to brace for double teams. Steve Caldwell was in a teaching mode with the youngsters. Most struggled with that. Mataio Soli went to his knees and didn’t brace properly. It was one play. Nothing about that drill is easy. It was fun to watch an old defensive end coach teach a youngster. The second time Soli did it, he was in proper position and handled the double team. He didn’t exactly split it, but he held his ground.

Clay Henry detailed reports = greatness!

Yeah much easier to bounce back with a lot less weight on me LOL.
I am pleased to see us working on pad level b/c that is what was the most dissapointing thing to me last yr,far too often we really didn’t fire out and try to drive block at all,just stood up and caught the DL and tried to turn/position them away from RB.
I really hope Jackson is improved/healthy enough to play LT which will allow Cunningham is work inside where his quickness will help on the counters but I’m like you Jackson better not miss too many days b/c Cunningham will take over LT but I hope not,we need the best 5 out there for us to have a chance on offense.

My favorite comment was, “Some who have seen the scrimmages like the look of these Razorbacks.”

I’m hopeful that those words were from some seasoned pros, and suspect they were. Doesn’t seem like an idle comment at this juncture, but a sound status update from last year, or even maybe comparing to 7 or 8 years back.


If I told you the source, you would like it.

But then you’d have to kill us…

And spoil all the fun!

Then, I’d also lose my source. Don’t want that.

After the last several years I try to keep my excitement about our program on a even keel, but your post is encouraging! Thanks,WPS