It was a lighter practice, with players going padless after a physical scrimmage on Friday. Here are a few pieces of news and notes from the day.
-The team went without pads today, so the practice was much lighter than it has been the last few times. Coach Monken said the practice felt a little sluggish at the start because of this, but that it ended up being a good down. After going a few practices in pads, it took the team a little while to ramp down the physicality.
-Fred Moore and Brandon Farmer ran with the first team on the offensive line at guard today. These two seem to have the edge at guard right now, but Norman Price and Thomas Collins are right on their heels. This will be the most highly competitive position going into the summer. This is good news for Coach Monken, as this will create plenty of depth at the position.
-Chad Cook continues to stand out at receiver. He ran with the second team today and is consistently getting separation. At one point a slot receiver on the first team made a mistake, and Monken immediately went to Cook to replace him. I really think if this guy gets the offense down he can contribute as a role-player this year.
-Another receiver that is really playing well right now is Dylan Fedora. He isn't the tallest or the fastest, but he flashes great hands and definitively has a solid grasp on the offense. Fedora is one of those guys that watches when the other teams are on the field while everyone else is taking a knee and getting water. He really soaks it all in and tries to learn.
-D.J. Thompson continued to impress today. He's becoming Nick Mullens' go-to guy on the outside. He makes a lot of tough catches, but perhaps more importantly, he makes the easy ones. The Golden Eagles really struggled with drops last year, and Thompson has by far shown the surest hands of the outside receivers group.
-It's beginning to look like Justin Penn is going to emerge as a serious contributor on defense. He ran with the ones along with Howze all day today, and he adds some much needed size to the linebacker group.
-George Payne returned to practice in a green jersey as well and ran with the second team. It's hard to say for sure if Payne is with the second team due to injury or if he's simply been passed up by Jalen Richard. If I had to guess I would say it's the latter. Richard was very impressive in the scrimmage Friday and has been solid throughout the spring. Richard has also shown nice hands out of the backfield, and made a spectacular shoe-string grab on a screen pass today.
These were my main takeaways on the day. The Golden Eagles will be back at it on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles have four practices left before the spring game a week from Saturday.