This is Charlie Campbell's Tuesday 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 second practice of Senior Bowl on Tuesday 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 pass coverage session.
North Carolina outside linebacker Zach Brown showed off his athleticism and agility by blanketing Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway on two reps. The second pass was slapped out of Ganaway's hands by Brown. In a game he may have been called for pass interference, but it would have been a close call. Ganaway also couldn't get separation from Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson.
Miami linebacker Sean Spence lost a rep to Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer and also had tight coverage to get a win against Clemson's Chad Diehl.
Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard burned Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho on an out route. Acho came back to have good coverage against Florida running back Chris Rainey. Ballard dropped a pass after getting a step on Florida State linebacker Nigel Bradham. Aside from that drop, Ballard had a strong practice. In the team scrimmage session, Ballard had a big run behind the right side of the offensive line. About 15 yards downfield, he was popped by LSU safety Brandon Taylor and taken to the ground on a hard tackle. That got scouts to "ooh" and "ahh" even though Taylor wasn't supposed to tackle Ballard. The hard tackle didn't phase him, as Ballard broke off another big run in the 11-on-11 scrimmage when he started to the left and slashed across the field towards the right side for a big gain.
The one-on-one scrimmages continued when the wide receivers and cornerbacks battled. Here is a scorecard of some of that action:
Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams beat Furman cornerback Joe Steed on two reps. The first win was on a slant pass. The second rep saw Steed get a good jam on Adams, but after the wideout released, he got some separation and caught a deep pass running along the sideline.
Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Bill Bentley split reps with North Carolina's Dwight Jones. The big wideout won on a slant pass, but lost on a deep cross. Jones stayed with the big receiver running across the field to force an incompletion. Bentley also had two wins against Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller. Bentley had an impressive interception after Fuller dropped a pass that bounced off his pads. Fuller quit on the ball, while Bentley dived and intercepted it. He blanketed Fuller again when Bentley didn't bite on a double move.
Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner split two reps with Vanderbilt's Casey Hayward. The first rep saw Hayward guard Criner closely and not allow any separation. The second rep was maybe the best catch thus far at Senior Bowl. Criner got a step on Hayward but the pass was thrown off the mark. Criner reached behind his body with one hand and grabbed the ball. It was a phenomenal catch that drew a collective "wow" from the stands.
Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin had tight coverage and slapped away a pass from Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Ladarius Green.
Alabama tight end Brad Smelley had good outing in the one-on-ones. He beat Alabama teammate cornerback DeQuan Menzie for a diving catch on an out pass. Against LSU safety Taylor, Smelley had a completion on a deep crossing route. Taylor came back to pop Smelley immediately after a short catch was made for a minimal gain.
Two former Gators teammates battled with running back Chris Rainey beating cornerback Janoris Jenkins on a slant route.
Houston wide receiver Patrick Edwards lost a rep to Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin. Edwards didn't get separation from Boykin and Edwards couldn't reach a couple feet over his head. The 5-foot-9 Edwards is clearly limited with the type of target he provides quarterbacks.
In the team scrimmage portion of practice, Jenkins had a nice pass breakup when he read a bootleg well and closed on the receiver. Jenkins timed his hit perfectly and popped the receiver to force an incompletion. The other defensive back who stood out in the team scrimmage was Menzie. He had a nice tackle of LSU tight end DeAngelo Peterson. Menzie followed that by running up to break down and make a nice open field tackle of Rainey.
The defensive line and offensive line had their one-on-one battles as well. Overall the defense had a dominant day, but that shouldn't be surprising as the line has three definite first-round picks in North Carolina's Quinton Coples, South Carolina's Melvin Ingram and Alabama's Courtney Upshaw. Here is a scorecard of some of the one-on-one action:
Coples was dynamite. He beat tackles with a elite skill set, and was essentially unblockable. He started out by beating Tory tackle James Brown with a speed rush towards the interior of the pocket. Coples slapped and fought away Florida State offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders to win an edge rush. In the rematch, Coples grabbed a hold of Sanders and tossed him aside to run free to the quarterback marker. Coples beat Illinois tackle Jeff Allen twice, once with a nice speed rush and a swim move to cut to the inside. Another win came at the expense of UAB tackle Matt McCants. Coples showed a complete package with speed and power to go along with a repertoire of moves.
Ingram was dominant as well. He beat Sanders with a bull rush. He also burned Sanders with with a speed rush around the corner. Ingram got Sanders again by starting to the outside before darting to the inside to get pressure. Ingram burst by Georgia guard Cordy Glenn and Allen to win two more reps.
Upshaw went virtually undefeated as well. He burned McCants on a speed rush around the corner on two reps. Upshaw also bull rushed his way through James Brown.
Glenn came back to stop some bull rushes cold. He blocked Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall, Tennessee defensive tackle Malik Jackson and Florida's Jaye Howard.
Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson had one of the most impressive rushes when he burned Glenn with a quick spin move. Thompson started to the outside before spinning back to the inside to jet by Glenn. Thompson was stopped by Jones. Thompson had wins against Baylor center Philip Blake and LSU guard Will Blackwell.
Blake walled off a bull rush from North Carolina defensive tackle Tydreke Powell.
Upshaw got a win with a bull rush running right through Brown.
Texas A&M's Tony Jerod-Eddie beat Allen and Blackwell. Blackwell really struggled on Tuesday. Jerod-Eddie bull rushed through Georgia guard Ben Jones.
Randle had beat Jones with a rush where he knocked Jones back on his heels before jetting by him.
In the team scrimmage session, Coples kept coming. He bull rushed through Sanders on a zone run to the right. That let him start a gang tackle for a loss. Coples blew by Sanders a few more times on speed rushes. In a game, he easily could have had a sack or two. To finish out the impressive day for the defensive line, Jerod-Eddie and Howard combined to record a sack after they burst through the line.