This is Charlie Campbell's Wednesday 2012 Senior Bowl Practice Report (South). Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
The South team took to the field of Ladd Peebles Stadium for their third practice of Senior Bowl on Wednesday afternoon. The Washington Redskins coaching staff was in charge of the South team and they had the players practicing in full pads with a quick tempo. Tuesday and Wednesday are the full-padded sessions. To start out practice they worked in their individual position groups. Soon the linebackers and running backs got together to battle in a one-on-one blitz pickup session.
The star of the drill was Arkansas defensive end/outside linebacker Jake Bequette. In college he didn't play outside linebacker, but some 3-4 defenses will consider Bequette for that role in the NFL. Bequette was too big and powerful for the backs to block. He bull rushed through Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer on two reps. He blasted his way through Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris and Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard. Bequette had a huge size advantage and he used that to win his reps.
Texas linebackers Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson had success as well. Acho torched Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway with a rush around the edge. Robinson flew by a block with a speed rush. There was a rep that Robinson lost as he was held off by Creer. Ganaway earned a victory after he stood up Miami linebacker Sean Spence after withstanding the initial hit. Spence also had a win over Ganaway with a swim move after rocking Ganaway with some hard contact.
North Carolina outside linebacker Zach Brown thrived. He beat blockers with speed and strength. Brown had wins over Ballard, Ganaway and Creer. Morris had the best block of Brown and stalled him long enough for a quarterback to potentially get a pass off.
The one-on-one scrimmages continued when the wide receivers and cornerbacks battled. Here is a scorecard of some of that action:
Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller started slowly with a leaping dropped touchdown on a deep ball. On another rep, North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins had tight coverage on Fuller to force an incompletion. Fuller did beat Jenkins on a deep post for a nice gain.
North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones had a step on Jenkins, but the pass was thrown too late. Jenkins recovered to slap the ball away.
Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner had a good practice and beat Furman cornerback Ryan Steed on a deep crossing route. On another rep, Criner was covered closely by Alabama cornerback DeQuan Menzie running down the middle of the field, but the big wideout used his size to climb the ladder and make an impressive catch over Menzie. On a jump ball for Criner in the end zone, Steed bounced back by forcing an incompletion as he slapped the pass away.
Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Ladarius Green beat Menzie for a reception on a crossing route. Menzie was close, but it was impressive to see Green get the completion against a quality cover corner.
South Carolina safety Antonio Allen forced an incompletion against Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams. Martin used the sideline as help as he angled Adams out of bounds. That got praise from Washington Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris.
Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward had a nice win as he recovered after Houston wide receiver Patrick Edwards briefly came open. Hayward gave Edwards a hard shove to push him to the turf along the sideline. Shortly later Edwards appeared to pull his hamstring while running downfield.
Alabama tight end Brad Smelley had a good gain on a crossing route going against LSU safety Brandon Taylor.
The defensive and offensive lines had their final padded one-on-one session of the Senior Bowl week on Wednesday afternoon. The defensive line of the South is the clearly the most talented position group on either team. North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples looks like a top-10 pick, while Alabama's Courtney Upshaw and South Carolina's Melvin Ingram could easily go in the top 25 on Draft Day. The rundown of these one-on-one battles features a lot of wins for those three prospects.
Coples got it started by beating Florida State offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders with a speed rush to the interior of the pocket. In the rematch Coples got by Sanders with speed around the edge. Coples went back to the inside to get a win against Georgia guard/tackle Cordy Glenn. In the rematch, Coples started with a bull rush into Glenn before disengaging and winning with a speed rush.
Ingram got his wins started with a spin move to slide by Illinois lineman Jeff Allen. UAB offensive tackle Matt McCants had a near draw with Ingram as he slowed him down after allowing some initial penetration. Ingram beat LSU's Will Blackwell with a speed rush around the edge. Ingram had two wins against Sanders on speed rushes around the corner. The one loss that Ingram had came when he rushed against Alabama center William Vlachos and the heavy center was able to grab a hold of Ingram and push him around the center of the pocket.
Upshaw's reps didn't start well as Glenn mirrored and fought him off on an edge rush. In the rematch, Upshaw jetted by Glenn to get a victory. Upshaw had a draw with a bull rush against Sanders that was stopped after allowing some pressure. Upshaw came back to beat Sanders with a speed and power rush along the outside. Upshaw had a win with a bull rush through McCants.
Glenn had an easy time stopping Tennessee's Malik Jackson. Against Sanders, Jackson got the better of the rep with a speed rush and a swim move after contact. He also beat McCants on a bull rush.
Texas A&M defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie had a draw going against Alabama center William Vlachos. Jerod-Eddie tried a bull rush against Baylor center Philip Blake and it went nowhere, but Blake did lose a rep to Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall.
Vlachos lost a bull rush to North Carolina defensive tackle Tydreke Powell as he charged hard to the quarterback marker.
Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson was put into the ground when he tried to do a spin move on Blackwell. Thompson rebounded to get a win with a bull rush through Georgia center Ben Jones.
In the 11-on-11 team scrimmage, the star defensive linemen continued to have their way. On one of the first plays, Upshaw burned Sanders with a speed rush to get a likely sack of Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. Robinson had a nice tackle of Creer.
Florida running back Chris Rainey came wide open in the deep part of the field but dropped the pass from quarterback Ryan Lindley as Rainey backpedaled. Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin had a nice run stuff and filled the hole at the point of attack. Martin also showcased tough run defense in the nine-on-nine scrimmage. Rainey did catch a short cross with Martin a hair late coming to break the pass up. The speedy Rainey turned into some open field and sprinted through the secondary for a good gain.
Coples burned Sanders on a speed rush for a likely sack in a real game on one of the final practice reps. After practice, it looked like Sanders and agent Drew Rosenhaus were having an unpleasant conversation.