Day four: The Hurricanes continued where yesterday left off, pads and some contact. It also gave me the opportunity to watch the defensive line work on tip drills. It was pure magic. We had the chance to catch up with a few leaders on the team, QB Stephen Morris and MLB Jimmy Gaines, and found out about what they think about the young guys.
- Jimmy Gaines, the favored starter at the MLB position this year, spoke about taking over as a leader on the defense; and how at MLB he's the QB of that side of the ball. When asked about who of his group has improved the most since last season... and after some attempts to say everyone... he named Luther Robinson. And in - 'stop if you heard this before' - news; when asked who the defense has been having trouble with so far he named: the offensive line. He did have some high praise on the young guys on D, naming Jermaine Grace for his speed, and Walter Tucker for his physicality. He also mentioned that Artie Burns has been impressive. As we started to move on, he was asked about not mentioning Alex Figueroa, " Oh Fig... he's been here since spring... he... he's just Fig, he doesn't seem like a freshman...". He also wishes he was that big when he came in. When asked about his fellow MLB Raphael Kirby, he brought up Kirby's first start against Notre Dame, "...coaches say don't let the moment be too big, but your first start at Soldier Field?..." But he says Kirby has been doing great, and will ultimately use that experience for good.
- Coach Barrow on the subject of freshman players contributing, "...mature; smart; you can have success; Sean Spence was a freshman 200lbs. Denzel Perryman was a freshman 200lbs; they were mature...". He was also impressed with the leadership Gaines has shown over the defense.
- Duke Johnson, Fullback! Ok, maybe not, but when asked about the biggest difference between last season and this season, Duke responded by saying the number of ways he can contribute, "...kick return, wide receiver, running back, fullback...". While in camp he may see time there. I'll go ahead and say don't expect to see him as lead blocker this season. He spoke about Eduardo Clements looking good post surgery, and that there has been improvement with Dallas Crawford. On freshman Gus Edwards, Duke spoke highly of his blocking, which he said was his biggest issue last year, so he was doing well. Add Duke to the list of players with high praise of Stacey Coley. Duke being impressed has to be a good thing right? He also was impressed by a member of the defense saying that Jimmy Gaines was playing the best football he has ever seen him play.
- Then there was Golden. When asked about the young guys, he mentioned Artie Burns doing well and then Alquadin Muhammad "...AQ has been impressive. He's very twitchy; you see it some on film but to get him here and have it show surrounded by other players that have it... he's explosive, he goes from lined up to 6 or 7 yards in the back field quickly..." I'm guessing twitchy is in reference to having good 'fast twitch' muscle fibers which allow explosive movement by the body... or Al is tired of us asking about young players after 4 practices, and just started making up words... I'm good with either.
- Figatron was not in a black starting jersey today but it's day 4; I wouldn't think much of it.
- Stephen Morris sounds like a NFL quarterback when speaking to the media - very polished.