Following Friday’s practice, Chris Ash once again met with the media to discuss a variety of topics.
Stealing the headlines was the quarterback battle. Chris Laviano took all of the first-team reps during the time period when the media was able to view practice. Ash didn’t put too much stock into that, saying it was just the way things were going and it didn’t dictate standing on the depth chart. Tomorrow’s scrimmage will most likely decide the starter. Ash said he hoped that they could find their guy during the scrimmage. If a starter is named following the scrimmage, it will most likely be Chris Laviano, as he has been taking more first-team reps during practice. However, if Zach Allen has a really strong scrimmage, he could push the competition into next week. In general, I would be surprised to see Allen named the starter this weekend. With that being said, Ash said he wants the starter named ASAP so they have more time to devote 100% focus on the Washington game on September 3rd.
True Freshmen Playing
One thing Ash noted was the emergence of true freshman Dacoven Bailey. He said Bailey has looked really good and will play this season. He kept mentioning how fast Bailey was and couldn’t get through a sentence without mentioning his speed. He also noted that running back Trey Sneed was doing a good job of mentally maturing this summer. Sneed was moving really fast in the Spring and now Ash is saying he has focused more time on the playbook and learning the offense. He also mentioned Jared Smolar’s name in the kicking battle but noted he was behind David Bonagura and neither of them were doing very well.
Ash had a lot to say about starting safeties Anthony Cioffi and Saquan Hampton. He first raved about Hampton and how he was going to be a star. Ash has seen countless safeties in his years of coaching defensive backs and defenses and has a lot of expectations for Hampton, who has 3 years to play. He also noted he has been working closely with Anthony Cioffi on tackling. He said he met with Cioffi to discuss his strengths and weaknesses and Cioffi said he wanted to work on his tackling so he has spent a lot of time this offseason working on his tackling. Ash also praised Isaiah Wharton and Blessuan Austin on their press coverage and picking up the new techniques the coaches have been teaching them.
Being Game Ready
Ash is pleased with every position group with the exception of the QBs, the kickers/punters, and the linebacker. No player from any of those groups has been “knighted” yet. Ash seemed particularly disappointed in the kickers. The linebackers are all first year starters and banged up right now. However, I can’t imagine Deonte Roberts and Najee Clayton having black stripes for much longer. However, I think it might take a while for a QB’s black stripe to removed. Regardless of who is named the starter, that does not mean they are game ready and neither QB has proved that they can be trusted to run the offense yet.