Penn Football All-Access Blog: Sunday, March 22nd

Penn Spring Football Practice # 3
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009: 3:00 PM –5:00 PM
Franklin Field
Philadelphia, PA

Mostly sunny, 59° F

Helmets / shorts

Practice Notes:
-Today marked the first of two afternoon practices the Quakers will run during their 12-workout spring session. The next one is the Spring Showcase, slated for Sunday, April 5th. The other 10 practices didn’t/won’t start before 8:00 PM.

-Terrific conditions for this afternoon’s 28-period practice. Intermittent clouds, but mostly sunny. There were clear blue skies, and temperatures fluctuated between the high 50’s and low 60’s. A steady breeze swirled through Franklin Field, and presented some challenges during kicking drills.

-Speaking of kicking drills, Penn ran through specific periods oriented towards kick-offs for the first time this spring. The Red and Blue boast a place kicker in Andrew Samson who garnered Associated Press Third-Team All-America honors for his performance during the 2008 campaign. The rising junior topped the Ivy League in field goals made, field goal percentage, and PAT percentage; however, he does not handle kick-offs. That responsibility will come down to the winner of a competition between sophomores Dave Kuncio and Trevor Charlston. Kuncio is the incumbent. Charlston appeared in one contest last year (3 KO for 177 YD at Georgetown) while dealing with an injury.

-The Quakers closed today’s practice with three periods of “team” drills, which is when full 11-men offensive and defensive formations line up across from one another. The three team periods were high for the spring.

-Certainly, the health of the Quakers’ top two quarterbacks Keiffer Garton (ankle) and Kyle Olson (knee) is a topic that understandably generates a lot of interest, so without overdoing it, your Penn Spring Football blogger will do his best to provide updates when merited. Today marked one of those times. Encouragingly, Garton, who is a little farther along than Olson, practiced on a limited basis, even going under center during some skeleton drills. When flushed out of the pocket, he moved with ease, while not trying to overdo it and run too quickly. Like Garton, Olson suited up in his helmet, jersey, and shorts, but was pretty much limited to throwing. So, on a positive, both quarterbacks seem to be progressing well with their rehab.

-Penn already enjoyed solid depth along its offensive line at center entreing this spring with Joe D’Orazio and Luis Ruffolo returning, but through the first three workouts, it appears that a third player could add his name to the mix. Greg Van Roten is a true freshman from Rockville Centre, NY. While at Chaminade High School, he twice participated in the Empire State Outback Bowl in 2006 and 2008. Van Roten’s listed at 6’3, 255 lbs.

-For the second straight practice, a member of the Quaker Class of 2009 was on hand to assist the club’s coaches. Jordan Manning attended Friday, while Jason Miran spent the afternoon at Franklin Field today. The Hill School product from Pottstown, PA started at FB for the Red and Blue as a senior this past season, and also logged time at TE. He observed former Penn TE Mark Fabish, who recently joined the staff, instruct that position. Miran is considering a career in coaching football following his graduation in May.

-A sign that spring football is truly underway, Don Snyder, a lineman from the Class of 2006 and current coordinator for Penn Athletics Development, sat in on today’s workout.

-And finally, an overdue official congratulations to Jon McLaughlin, who, after a lengthy paperwork process, was formally appointed to the post of offensive coordinator Friday. McLaughlin is featured in the latest installment of the Penn Sports Network video-on-demand series “Penn Football All-Access.” A link to this episode is available here, or at the top of this blog post.

Featured Drill:
Click this link to watch Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Jim Steel explain the functions of the pre-practice warm-up exercises he designs.

Next Practice:
Tuesday, March 24th; 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM (full pads)