Wednesday, August 5, 2009
On Oklahoma and beyond in Jacksonville
By Paul Kuharsky
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Oklahoma drill is a great thing for the Jaguars.
It creates buzz and anticipation. It's become a tradition. It's something people won't likely see in any similar setting. There are full-speed collisions, popping pads, hoots from the players and fans alike.
That's why practice Wednesday night drew nearly 2,500 people.
But I must admit, for the hype that's built up from a couple of years of hearing about it, it was a bit underwhelming. It wasn't like the scene I was told about when Marcellus Wiley tossed a handful of candy at Mike Williams, then got clobbered by the giant offensive tackle after the stunt.
There were as many draws as wins and it's hard to know for sure what you saw in a very fast couple of seconds, so I'll send you elsewhere to more expert eyes for any sort of scorecard.
Julius Williams toppled Tony Pashos in one crowd-pleaser and linebacker Tim Shaw twice created major thumps against Zach Miller, but I felt like Miller did well enough to allow the running back to get somewhere.
It's very cool that Jack Del Rio does it -- fans, players, staff and media all enjoy it.
But there was plenty more to see as well, so here are some things that struck me:
- In a nine-on-seven run period, Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams were rotating at left guard while Uche Nwaneri manned right guard.
- In a blitz pickup drill, Greg Jones did just that -- he picked up Johnny Williams off ground, then tossed him aside. Williams then tied his shoe.
- Mike Walker looks great and seemed to be the target of the first pass of every team period. Looks solid, shifty, and consistent. The first pass he caught was a touchdown from 21-yards out on which David Garrard got good protection.
- Derek Landri knocked a ball out of Todd Bauman's hand, something that shouldn't be able to happen in a practice.
- Garrard hit Torry Holt at the right sideline near the pylon and he got in, beating Rashean Mathis. Later, during a special-teams period, I watched Holt play catch with a coach, watching the ball in to his hands from about eight yards away at a variety of angles with a wide array of loft or lack thereof.
- In seven-on-sevens, when a quarterback should be close to perfect working against no pass rush, Garrard had one 1-for-3 stretch -- lucky that Mathis didn't pick a pass for Jarett Dillard and throwing a ball away when he could find nothing. A throw away is generally a good thing, but not something that should happen often in that context. Maybe somebody botched a route?
- Garrard saw Nate Hughes pull away from Kennard Cox and Mesphin Forrester, and delivered a bomb for a 60-yard touchdown. When I visited organized team activities, I didn't think Garrard was throwing well deep to the sidelines. This made for twice on the day he had a guy break open and put the ball where he had to, well down the field.