Posted: 10:06 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
By Dan Kadar
Quick thoughts on what the South team showed during the final day of Senior Bowl practices.
Mobile, Ala.: The fourth day of Senior Bowl practices is a light one. Players are just in shirts and shorts and contact is kept at a minimum as the game plan is installed during a walk through.
By Thursday, most NFL personnel members were long gone. The North and South teams practiced at the same time as well. The South team was at Ladd Peebles Stadium while the North worked out at Fairhope Stadium. For the Day 4 report, I followed the South team since they have better quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Fortunately the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff made things competitive between the defensive backs and wide receivers running a lot of seven-on-seven drills near the end zone.
Of the three South quarterbacks – Derek Carr, David Fales and Jimmy Garappolo – Carr is a considerable cut above. On Thursday he showed good anticipation and ball placement. He put routinely put the ball only where his receiver could high point it in the end zone. On one play Carr improvised and worked past his first option earning the praise of Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Garappolo was decent but sporadic at times. Fales had some nice passes but he often holds the ball too long.
Today's practice was all about the matchups between receivers and defensive backs. Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch continued his strong week of practice. He made several contested catches and was physically outmatching the defensive backs he went against. Colorado State's Crockett Gilmore, a late edition to the Senior Bowl, kept in stride. Crockett doesn't always target the ball at the high point, but after one catch over Vanderbilt's Kenny Ladler he emphatically dunked the football over the back of the goalpost, delighting Jaguars coaches.
Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews looked more like himself on Thursday than the rest of the week. He was attacking the ball while it was in the air, often skying over cornerbacks. That's where Matthews is at his best, but he didn't show it often enough earlier in the week. BYU's Cody Hoffman had a nice day as well, doing many of the same things Matthews did.
Conversely, Texas' Mike Davis had probably his worst practice of the week. He dropped a couple passes and couldn't stick in bounds on another throw. Still, Davis put together a good week of practices showing off his quickness and athleticism.
On a day made for receivers to look good, Florida State linebacker Christian Jones stepped up. He was closing on the ball in a hurry (as was teammate Telvin Smith) and doing nicely in coverage. He looked shaky in coverage earlier in the week, but had a nice interception at the goal line on Thursday.
Even Arizona State's Will Sutton got in on the interception fun Thursday. Cal's Deandre Coleman tipped a Fales pass that Sutton pulled in.