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January 12, 2005
East practice marred by injuries
Anthony Moeaki (right) and many others. Here's an overview of day three of practice.SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The East practice field looked more like an outdoor hospital than anything else on Wednesday afternoon with plenty of star power nursing injuries. However, there was still quite a bit of talent to watch like
Moeaki finally emerged, moreso because the coaching staff finally decided to get him the ball more than any lack of ability. He made quite a few nice catches near the end of practice and was used in the slot a couple of times, beating linebackers with ease. He did take one big shot from linebacker Derek Nicholson which ended his day a little early, but beyond that he was excellent.
One Monday I said that both Jonathan Crompton and Greg Paulus had a stronger arm than Iowa commitment Jake Christensen as both seemed to be firing the ball with more purpose. Christensen let loose today and has a gun, as strong as Crompton and stronger than Paulus. All three quarterbacks have different strengths.
Patrick Turner continued to dominate Wednesday making catches over single and double coverage.
The hit of the day came from Rico McCoy, who leveled Jamario O'Neal on a quick slant. O'Neal didn't see it coming and didn't return to practice, limping noticeably. However, he was walking better later in the day.
Nicholson's hit on Moeaki was the second best hit and running back Jason Gwaltney ran through Ryan Bain and Jerome Hayes on one play. He also pancaked Brian Cushing on one play while Cushing picked up and slammed Nyan Boateng after a catch.
Eugene Monroe was among the many who didn't practice (knee). Also on that list was Demetrice Morley (ankle), Kenneth Phillips (groin), Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) and Melvin Alaeze (wrist). Injured during practice on the day were James McKinney (hip pointer) and Alex Boone (knee), but Boone played through the injury and showed great toughness all day.
Toney Baker had a good day of practice and was hard to tackle. He looks like a Jamal Lewis type of runner with his short, compact body and great speed. Baker is going to announce his decision on Saturday and said it's down to NC State, Virginia and Tennessee. He said he's known who he is choosing for a little while now.
Fred Rouse and Elan Lewis returned to practice on Wednesday. Rouse was running with a clear limp but should be close to full strength for the game it seems. Lewis showed no sign of his ankle injury and was effective catching the football. It seems that Baker and Gwaltney will do the bulk of the running while Lewis, Mendenhall and Maurice Wells will likely slot out more often.
Marques Slocum played both ways Wednesday but clearly prefers to play defensive tackle. He provided a spark for the defensive line when he switched over. He is choosing between Michigan and Michigan State on Jan. 19. Earl Heyman, who is pretty much a solid, solid lean to Louisville, also looked very good.