I'd been waiting for over six weeks, real football so close, yet so far away. I waited in agony, suffering from severe football hunger. Now, it's here, folks. Finally, training camp is underway at Anderson University, and players are fighting for roster spots.
So, I was there at the first practice today. I went into Anderson thinking I was going to analyze all the players in depth, every single one, down to the backup holder and the golf cart drivers. But then I realized this wasn't the case. I found out that I was going to watch casually, not critically, as no more than a fan. I tend to assume during a football game I will watch closely (one of my original ideas was to write an in-depth piece on the linemen), but I end up not doing so unless I force myself to (and I only remember to every once in a while; therefore I end up watching mostly the ball. And when I analyze in depth, I can only watch one player per play, not enough to get a full analysis on the player. Especially for ST, when reps are limited to begin with (now, on a side note, I saw Tom McMahon, the special teams coach, talking to Pat McAfee, who was holding for Vinatieri. How do you coach a holder? Wonder what that conversation was like."Pat, next time make sure the ball's pointing up, not sideways...").
Anyway, even though I didn't watch as closely as I wish I would have, I still saw a lot and learned about the team.
Some of my depth-lacking observations, including many but not all position groups:
Receivers: Liked this unit a lot today. Keep in mind this is from one day and I watched certain receivers on certain plays. If a receiver is unimpressive it means he was unimpressive from the few plays I watched him closely on. Also, it doesn't mean one is better than the other. I don't think Kelley is better than DHB. I do not take into account who they were playing against, either. However, if, say, Kelley, was doing nicely against our fifth corner, doesn't that mean he may do nicely as the fifth receiver going up against an opponent's fifth CB? (sorry that the wording is poor, but I can't think of any other way to put it) If you dislike my approach on this, I understand, but I will carry it out like this. I will take the same approach on other things here.
Really liked: Wayne, Whalen; Liked quite a bit: Kelley, Hilton; Kinda liked: DHB, NaPalm; Didn't care for: Brazill, Rumble, Sampson, Sambrano
O-line: Looked shaky, but it's a padless practice. The holes weren't huge, but it's not easy to open them up when you can't grab the other guy. I can't go too in-depth here.
RBs: Kerwynn Williams impressed me today with his elusiveness. Caught a few passes out of the backfield and had some nice cuts running the ball. Vick Ballard and Donald Brown were only OK, but in a padless practice there were not great holes to run through, nor were there cutback lanes, the blocking without pads can be blamed instead of the RBs. A final important bit here: In one of the few carries he received (he was the 2nd team RB), Delone Carter had the football stripped by a defensive lineman.
D-line: Chapman was the backup, Franklin was the starter. RJF and Redding were the 3-tech and 5-tech, though RJF got some reps at nose. I think Nevis came in on those plays as the 3-tech. Random observation: Redding was the only player not in shorts on the field, he was wearing pants. I don't know why. It's insignificant, but I thought you might want to know.
LBs: It was usually Conner and Freeman. Sheppard sometimes came in for Conner. I saw CO Prime taking 3rd team snaps with Scott Lutrus, I think, with Harvey and Sheppard on 2nd team. On the outside, Walden and Werner split time as first team SOLB, Mathis was the primary ROLB, and it was either Sidbury or Werner replacing him on 2nd team (can't remember).
Now, enough about football. Time for me. After practice, I got some autographs (in case you're interested, or maybe just because I want to brag about some Sharpie ink on a football, Mathis, Coach Pagano, Freeman, Vaughn, Satele, Adongo, Werner, Caeser Rayford, Dominique Jones, Larry Asante, Bethea ). I also got a $2 pork tenderloin sandwich. It was $8, until practice ended, and then they decreased the price. I'm sure all you care about is football, but I need a place for my personal triumphs too.
Can't wait for the season to begin. Go Colts!