TRAINING CAMP REPORT MONDAY AUGUST 1 AFTERNOON
by Jerry Gilbert
Almost nothing of much interest occurred in the brief afternoon special teams practice held in 90 degree temperatures. A highlight was an individual practice session in which punter Bryce Benekos tried to improve his punting which has been sub-standard. Antonio Chatman was receiving. there was no center.
Benekos boomed several kicks; however, after he turned around, it was quite apparent that he had benefited from a strong tail wind. As the coaches arrived and used him to punt to return men (against the wind), he seldom reached where they were standing.
Most of the practice consisted of technique work for kick attackers and defenders. They worked on establishing and staying in lanes for quite a while. Two groups of 11 were walked through it. When the third team's turn arrived, they obviously had not been watching. I could have done it better, and that will be the only time I ever compare myself with a professional football player.
At the moment, the first team consists of veterans and a few rookies. I may be wrong on one or two,, but the first group off the bench is composed of: Ahmad Carroll, Robert Ferguson, Najeh Davenport, Paris Lenon, Ben Steele, Ray Thompson, Todd Franz, Nick Collins, Terrence Murphy and Tony Fisher. William Henderson and many other veterans were excused from this practice.
During a drill in which players were supposed to make contact as they ran past a defender, Seante Williams was singled out as doing it right and then the others copied him. Roy Manning was also singled out both for positive comments and coaching--"Grab the Ball Roy!" (when making a from behind tackle)
The practice is one that Terrence Murphy would like to forget. He is trying to be a punt and kick-off returner, and after he fumbled a "kick" from a machine, the coach yelled "catch the ball" "catch the ball". A few minutes later, he did catch the kick and ran it back. A coach ran over and seemed to be pointing out that Murphy made a mistake in the runback. Murphy was clearly angry with himself as practice ended.
With Bubba Franks unsigned and David Martin injured, there are opportunities for the tight ends in camp. Sean McHugh and Steve Fleming are behind Ben Steele, but they seem about equal in special team work and in drills. Any of them could step forward as camp goes on. I will be watching Fleming, who at 6-6 262, is pretty intimidating in one on one encounters.