DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
The West Team’s defense appears to have a natural leader in Howard linebacker Keith Pough. Early in practice, he fought off a block to make a tackle in the backfield. Later, he decked Idaho State tight end Josh Hill at the line of scrimmage, completely preventing Hill from getting into his pass route. Pough also showed the ability to flow down the line of scrimmage to force a run play out of bounds. He’s a demonstrative player who isn’t afraid to celebrate his victories, but Pough also isn’t afraid to take charge and put his teammates in the correct alignments. Pough’s only questionable decision this week has been his choice to wear a fringed undershirt beneath his pads. It’s an odd fashion statement, but it seems to be working for him.
A trio of Big Ten cornerbacks continued to have a strong week for the West. Illinois’ Terry Hawthorne and Ohio State’s Travis Howard have been able to stick with their men in coverage and make plays on the ball, and Iowa’s Micah Hyde came away with an interception along the sideline.
On the offensive side, Arizona quarterback Matt Scott has been one of the biggest disappointments of the week. Scott hung the sideline pass that Hyde intercepted, made a number of other off target throws, and continued to mishandle snaps from under center. Scott is a good athlete, who had some nice moments during the regular season, but he is having a week of practice he would like to forget.
Southern Methodist’s Zac Line showed once again that he is more running back than fullback. He looks natural carrying the ball and has good feet for a back his size. However, he has not performed particularly well in pass protection drills. In fact, all three West running backs struggled in one-on-one blocking drills against the team’s linebacking corps.
- After a strong Tuesday practice, Texas A&M running back Christine Michael dropped a pass, and struggled to gather a couple of pitches. Further proof that one day of practice does not make or break a player’s draft stock.
- Virginia linebacker Steve Greer made another stop in the backfield on Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams.
- Arizona wide receiver Dan Buckner appeared to be missing from practice Wednesday though it wasn’t clear why.
- Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis made a terrific adjustment to haul in a catch along the sideline, then cut back toward the middle of the field to finish a long gain.
- A day after struggling to get off of press coverage, Mount Union wide receiver Jasper Collins saw some more action in the slot, and performed well.
- Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein dropped into zone coverage and jumped up to knock a pass away.
- Arizona State safety Keeland Johnson was ripped by one of the West coaches for “taking a nap” in pass coverage. Johnson was ordered off the field after that particular play.
- After seeing one of his teammates slip early in practice, UCLA cornerback Aaron Hester could be overheard commenting on the subpar field conditions. Neither team’s practice field this week was anything special, and a number of West players had trouble with their footing on Wednesday.