2012 Shrine Game: Thursday Daily Notes

Chris RaineyIn likely the last day of Daily Notes, I think I’ve saved the best for last with some very intriguing notes from this week. 

What did I NOT like about the practices? Who’s hurt and likely out of the game? What did the CFL scouts in attendence have to say? Some intriguing 40 time potential numbers for non-Shrine Game prospects, and how great was Josh Norman REALLY?

Some Issues With The Week of Practice

-The West Roster has done VERY little real football contact this week, with their most physical practice being the rained-filled Wednesday slop-fest. While it has an impact on the game, likely, I don’t care about that aspect. I NEVER got a good feel for any of the running backs or how the linebackers can fill in run support. It’s too bad for a lot of those guys. Under Childress, they are focusing on a unique three facets of practice: Stretching,

-Besides the lack of contact, what is also really a shame is that these teams DON’T give players a chance to work in a 3-4 scheme. Guys like Justin Francis, Vaughn Meatoga, and Matt Conrath could be 3-4 DEs, Brandon Lindsey, Josh Kaddu, and Kyle Wilber could have shown some 3-4 rush skills as well. It’s not fair to these guys, as they weren’t give ample opportunity to show what they can do. That is something the game really needs to address next year, whether that’s involving more drills to show some 5-technique or rushing skills, or even having one 3-4 team and one 4-3 team, and doing their best to put players on the teams accordingly.

Injury Notes
-Junior Hemingway of Michigan was the latest in the injuries today with a pulled hamstring, and as Joe Everett of RookieDraft.com reported, he’s questionable for the game. Also injured after being on the initial roster this week was Gary Gray of Notre Dame (groin injury), Tysyn Hartman of Kansas State (concussion), Bruce Figgins of Georgia (likely concussion, not confirmed), and Markus Zusevics (unknown injury).

Quick Interview/Background/Week Long Notes
-Spoke with Desmond Wynn, guard from Rutgers. First off, he was hopeful (as was I) that he would play some tackle today/this week, as he has the length and frame to do so, but it didn’t happen. However, he is comfortable on the left side, so he’d likely only feel comfortable as a left tackle, a spot NFL teams won’t be looking at him. He is from the state of Delaware in high school, hometown being just outside of Newark. A state not known for producing NFL talent, Wynn and Penn State’s DT Devon Still were both high recruits that year and now are legitimate NFL prospects (never played each other).

-Also got a chance to speak with Canadian import Arnaud Nadon. Lining up at defensive end (see my gripe later on with defensive schemes), but he told me he wanted to stand-up a bit today in a two-point stance, but coaches didn’t let it happen. He played in more of a 3-4 defense last year and based on his athletic ability (though still very raw in his speed rush development and his overall feel for the blocker in his rushers) he has a chance to work into that role. He said the biggest transition from Canada to here was reading the tight end and how to alter his play. In Canada, he said, they don’t use a tight end, so he wasn’t used to his positioning and angles with one. A small yet influential transition that he’ll have to make.

-I spoke with a CFL scout yesterday who also mentioned that outside of the three Canadian college guys here, Moe Petrus of Connecticut and Tyrone Crawford of Boise State also are from Canada. He did say that he expects Petrus to consider the CFL, as he doubts Petrus gets a draft selection or a lot of looks after the draft. He hasn’t shown great ability this week.

-Spoke with someone training with a some other top NFL prospects. He said that first, Chris Rainey is FAST. Very fast. Like, he’s going run in the low 4.2s fast at the NFL combine, and he’s aiming to break 4.19. Also, he said that David Wilson of Virginia Tech should test “very well”, and that West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin “holds his own” with the running backs/receivers/defensive backs.

-Spoke with someone who also pointed out what I had had concerns about this week. Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina has played well this week, has three interceptions in practice, and has been all over the place at this Shrine Game, even here at Optimum Scouting. But based on what I’ve seen and then confirmed yesterday, he has gotten “lucky” at times in where he’s been when the ball is thrown, and it’s possible his week could have gone differently. He’s gotten beat a few times, but thanks to a few off-timed and poor throws and him finishing the catches (which is a huge plus), he’s looked elite. His been solid and I appreciate the interview, but I don’t think he was the most consistent small school cornerback at the Shrine Game.

-Finally, heard some very interesting and dissapointing news about one offensive linemen at the event. I was asked not to disclose it as of now, but if you follow our rankings closely, you’ll probably notice it next time we update our rankings. The reason is some drug use we found out about that is very frustrating, as this isn’t the first I’ve heard of this player having that concern. As I stressed about before, this week and the Senior Bowl week is the prime chance to really understand who these prospects are.