Penn Football All-Access Blog: Friday, March 20

Penn Spring Football Practice # 2
Friday, March 20th, 2009: 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Franklin Field
Philadelphia, PA

Clear, 38° F

Helmets / shorts

Practice Notes:
-The balmy conditions (54° F) during the Quakers’ first spring practice on Wednesday night certainly eased the Red and Blue back into football mode the first time in nearly four months, but mother nature made sure to remind Penn that, despite this being the first day of spring, the calendar still showed March. Over the past 48 hours, temperatures in Philly have tapered down into the mid 30’s, causing some of the coaches and players to go Gore-Tex. Fortunately, the Delaware Valley didn’t experience the wind and rain that some forecasts had called for.

-Like Wednesday’s session, Penn went tonight for 28 periods, with each lasting five minutes. Again, there were no contact drills, as the squad stuck to wearing helmets and shorts. While a 28-period practice definitely isn’t a light workload, it’s not as extensive as some regular season workouts, whose total number of periods can run into the mid 30’s.

-With the Quaker coaches continuing to steadily reacclimate the team to football, the staff opted to stick with a basic, standard practice format for the squad’s second session of the spring. Opened with a walkthrough, then running and stretching, followed by individual, skeleton, and team drills.

-It’s not uncommon for coaches to test out players at positions different than the ones at which they started their careers. For example, last season, the Quakers converted rising senior Brendan McNally from quarterback to defensive back, due to the arrival of Kyle Olson on campus (ironically, McNally clinched Penn’s key road victory at Yale with an interception, only to log time later in the campaign at QB because of injuries to Olson, Keiffer Garton, and Robert Irvin). In previous years, the Red and Blue coaches started experimenting with player position changes in the spring, but wouldn’t rule whether to proceed with them until the club returned to campus for pre-season camp. This spring, the staff is really going to make a conscious effort to have these types of decisions finalized before (or shortly after) the team breaks for the summer on April 8th. This philosophical shift should definitely pay efficiency dividends when the program returns to work in August.

-Penn’s aerial attack finished sixth in the Ivy League in 2008, averaging a respectable 170.6 yards/game. Keep in mind, though, the Quakers ran the ball more than any other club in the conference. The Red and Blue are optimistic about their wideouts for the coming campaign. One prospect to monitor is Joe Holder, who spent the previous season on the JV and scout squads. Most intriguing about the current freshman is the combination of his 6’3 frame with his reliable hands. The St. Peters Prep product out of Jersey City is intelligent-he walked on-and boasts a high football IQ. Given his limited experience, Holder will aim to sharpen his route-running this spring, both as an outside and inside receiver.

-Other quick notes on the receivers: Junior Kyle Derham fought nagging knee pain throughout the 2008 season, but is virtually free of that discomfort this spring...Matt Tuten is hoping to build upon an encouraging sophomore year and provides the Quakers with impressive consistency...two other sophomores Ryan Calvert and Blake Adams spent a lot of time lifting this off-season and had good showings in the program’s Iron Quaker weightlifting competition.

-Even with graduation looming, Jordan Manning, a member of the Quaker Class of 2009, stopped by this evening’s practice, and assisted Jon Dupont in working out members of the Red and Blue secondary. The Harrisburg, PA native started every game during his final three seasons with the program, and recorded three interceptions in 2008.

Featured Drill:
Click this link to watch Rick Ulrich explain how he prepared the Quakers’ wide receivers for tonight’s practice.

Next Practice:
Sunday, March 22nd; 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM (helmets/shorts)