Vela: Practice Report

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by austintodallas, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. austintodallas

    austintodallas Consider Yourself Sucked

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    Old Folks Revival — Practice Report, Monday Morning, August 7th

    By Rafael Vela

    Some of the older hands might remember the famous episode of the ’80s TV show Dallas that re-introduced Bobby Ewing. The star playing Bobby had left in a contract dispute and the show had killed him off. When the actor came back a year later the writers had to figure out how to work him back into the plot, after episodes of being “dead.” Their cheesy solution had wife Pam finding Bobby in the shower. After telling Bobby she thought he was gone forever, he assures her, “it was all a bad dream, Pam. It was only a dream.”
    I thought of Bobby Ewing this morning, after reading the panicked comments from the scrimmage thread and watching Flozell Adams look more like his old self in the early practice. Repeat after me ‘Boys Bloggers – it was only a dream. Flozell’s not done. It was just a bad dream.

    That was the main story of a session that saw several veterans step forward while several promising rookies took a step back on their learning curves. While Adams, Marco Rivera and the rest of their offensive line mates took a step forward, Anthony Fasano, Bobby Carpenter and Montavious Stanley looked fuzzy headed. Fasano shows great hands but took some lumps in pass blocking drills. Stanley was a speed bump for an inside running game that had its best showing all camp. Carpenter lacked the sharpness and aggression he flashed Saturday.

    After their normal walkthrough and stretching the Cowboys broke into unit drills. Today, however, the offense and defense matched up much sooner than usual. The o-linemen worked with the d-linemen in one-on-one pass blocking drills. For the most part, the offense looked good. Marco Rivera got the better of Jay Ratliff, running him into the turf. Ratliff bounced back and beat Jason Fabini inside a play later. Fabini looks vulnerable to inside counter moves and I wonder if he’s regained full strength in his injured pectoral muscle? On the left side, Flozell Adams rode Chris Canty wide consistently and Pat McQuistan stalemated Jason Hatcher, who tried to beat him with a bull rush.

    On the far field, the tight ends and outside linebackers squared off in a one-one-one pass rushing drill. The TEs and F-back Lousaka Polite were consistent at taking away the inside option and driving their opponents wide. The exception was Fasano, who sometimes squared up and left the rusher beat him outside.

    The groups then merged in what we might call a broken-line run blocking drill. The right tackle and tight end would line up wide against a defensive end and outside linebacker. Parcells would stand behind the defenders and signal the blocking assignments to the offensive players. Parcells would repeat the drills if he felt the offensive blockers lacked pop or technique. He didn’t have to re-run plays often. The blockers on the right side were effective, though Rob Petitti drew some criticism for leaving his feet on a block.

    The drama came on the left side, where Fasano was blocking with Flozell Adams. Parcells was dissatisfied with Fasano’s push and told him, “I want you on this side [of the line of scrimmage] Anthony.” He then yelled to Jason Hatcher, “you’re going to be double teamed, Hatcher,” to raise the bar a little for Fasano.

    While Fasano struggled, Adams looked more far more fluid. He turned his ends on run blocks intended to go outside. He got a push on straight ahead plays. When the squad went 11-on-11 Adams continued his improved play. He maintained his good pushes and ended his first series of the drill with a successful trap block on the nose tackle.

    The improved run blocking continued when the second units clashed and at the end of the drill Parcells turned to his offensive units and said, “now we’re making some progress.”

    That progress continued into the passing drills, where the protection tightened up considerably compared to Saturday’s scrimmage. Adams handled Canty and Hatcher outside. The interior blocking was tougher. There was some leakage on the right edge and if you want something to follow, track RT Marc Colombo’s pass blocking. He seems to have trouble with speed rushes outside. Again, I would caution everybody not to panic. It’s not clear to me that Columbo has the starting job. If the season started this weekend, I’d bet on Rob Petitti getting the call. I think Colombo is getting an extended chance to see what he can do.

    Even with the better protection, the QBs had trouble completing passes. I have not remarked much on them, but the secondary is making things sticky for the Cowboys receivers. Drew Bledsoe got untracked by going to his old reliable Jason Witten, first on an out and then on a seam between the layers of the defensive zone. Tony Romo did the same with Tony Curtis, who continues to look active in live play.

    Overall, the session was enough to wipe away the bad feelings of Saturday. Think good thoughts Cowboys fans; the protection breakdowns two days ago were all a bad dream. (fingers crossed behind back)
    • WR Sam Hurd got some reps with the first team in the final drill. He made a good catch but was later sent from the field by Parcells for a weak run block.
    • Corey Proctor will likely make the team as the backup guard. He was strong in the run drills and got some encouragement from Parcells. He took reps at both the left and right guard positions. My prediction for the final OL squad, barring injuries is: Adams, Kosier, Gurode, Rivera, Petitti at starters, with McQuistan, Proctor and Johnson as backups. Marc Columbo and Jason Fabini will fight it out for the last tackle spot. Columbo has the edge right now but both have flaws in their games.
    • It’s the little things, part 843. The Cowboys had a two minute drill near the end of practice today. The offense would pass the ball ten to fifteen yards down the field and the wide receivers would practice finding the offical and calling time out. Sam Hurd was chastised for not calling time out on the first play. Two plays later he again made a reception and signed with his hands. “Did you call time out?” Parcells asked him. “Yes coach, I did,” said Hurd. “Then why didn’t I hear you?” was the reply. Hurd had neglected to yell time while he signaled.
    • Mike Vanderjagt keeps pushing his kicks. Three of his four attempts today missed. All sailed a foot or so wide right. Vanderjagt was pushing the ball this way last week, even when he was kicking alone off a tee.
    • Emerging from the shadows? Undrafted rookie Oliver Hoyte got some heavy reps with the second team defense today. He had a reputation as a run stuffer at N.C. State but he’s shown fluid movement and depth on his pass drops.
  2. Angus

    Angus Active Member

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    Thanks for the post. Vela is always informative.
  3. Screw The Hall

    Screw The Hall Well-Known Member

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    Yeah Vela's reports are top notch.

    The QBs finally get some time and there's no TO or Glenn to throw to. They can't catch a break right now.
  4. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Only 3 guards? I know Johnson/Gurode loser can play guard also. Roster spots are tight but I was counting on 10 OL's. Peterman looks to be the odd man out. I would like to see him get some playing time in preseason so we can all see if he deserves another spot this year.
  5. EastDallasCowboy

    EastDallasCowboy New Member

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    Why do I keep reading this every day?
  6. Teague31

    Teague31 Defender of the Star

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    fasano's blocking skills are lacking to say the least....
  7. Dawgs0916

    Dawgs0916 Will the Thrill

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    I love how now all of a sudden Vela is reporting that Columbo is battling for a spot on the team, when all we've been hearing is how impressive he's been. Riiiiiight.
  8. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

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    I love these practice reports...thanks to all who post them!
  9. JoeCorrado

    JoeCorrado Active Member

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    A great report! Plenty of good information and a pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing!
  10. AsthmaField

    AsthmaField Outta bounds

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    I read just the other day that he was doing a terrific job blocking. I think he just had a bad day today.
  11. Typhus

    Typhus aka...golden

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    Concerning T.O. (hammy), and T.G. (toe blisters), .. not to worry here.
    This is more of a frustration break for both of them.

    There is a reason why various reports are being read weekly that the QB's are overthrowing the WR's often in this camp.

    The reason,,, blanket coverage from the secondary is leaving very little options for the QB's, and throwing high has been the only window availabe on a lot of plays.
  12. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I'm thinking it has to do with being old now and having a weak leg

    its why I didnt want to sign him...I'd have much preferred Longwell or Vinateri, both of whom have stronger legs

  13. Kobal

    Kobal Member

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    It was only a dream. Flozell’s not done. It was just a bad dream.....

    :omg: ..... :doh:
  14. TVMan

    TVMan Active Member

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    Might be a repost, not sure, but a good article.


    Man of the House

    The linebacker prowls his turf like a one-man army, intent on devouring any enemy intruders like prey that has wandered into his hostile territory.

    He's a soldier, but there's nothing human about the way he plays.

    Oliver Hoyte is a machine.

    "I dont know why, but I don't feel any pain when I hit people. It just feels good," Hoyte said. "I love the feeling I get to run into someone full speed ahead. You won't go to jail for it."

    True, but if smashing tailbacks in the mouth was a crime, Hoyte would be a lifetime offender.

    Hoyte is built on pure fury and competition. The senior from Tampa, Fla. had one word to describe his on-field persona.

    "I look at myself as being violent. I try to play violent," he said.

    But he has to play violent. Though he is 247-pounds of pure lead, he has to battle through gargantuan offensive linemen to wield his wrath upon opposing running backs.

    "It's like the trenches, with guys outweighing you by 100 pounds, you have to be violent," Hoyte said.

    During the opening of fall training camp drills, wide receiver Brian Clark said he likes to keep as many pads off, so that he can run his routes with quickness and ease. Clark said Hoyte, however, can't wait to garment himself fully-padded.


    So he can hit people as hard as possible.

    "He wants all the pads on so he can go full contact," Clark said. "He loves to get himself dirty. He loves to let people feel who he really is."

    Perhaps no one has seen the Hoyte's competitiveness to the extent that Clark has. The two have known one another since first grade.

    Although it wasn't until they played together at Chamberlain High School in Tampa that Clark felt the severity of an 'Ollie Pop.'

    Clark still remembers that hit. The one he calls the worst he's ever been dealt. While at one of Chamberlain's practices, Clark caught a deep pass and tiptoed down the sidelines, mere yards from the asphalt track on the field's perimeter.

    After beating his defender, Clark did some showboating, thinking the play was over.

    Apparently in Hoyte's mind, it was not.

    From the safety position, Hoyte came charging toward Clark like a man possessed, intent on taking care of business.

    Clark, once again thinking the play was over, didn't heed the warning.

    He paid the price.

    Hoyte leveled Clark at full speed, heaving the unsuspecting receiver four yards into an unfriendly head-on collision with the asphalt track.

    "I thought he was going to thug me," Clark said. "But he came full speed and hit me."

    The impact with the concrete was so intense Clark had to have his helmet repainted and find a replacement for his torn jersey.

    Clark and Hoyte still have an ongoing joke about the hit.

    "He was like 'I thought you were going to keep going.' I was like 'I was playing around,'" Clark said. "To this day, he says that he thought I was still running. I told him the play was over, he knew I was going to get in the end zone."

    Still, Clark has learned his lesson from the icy hit.

    "I try to keep him from hitting me," he said.

    But Hoyte's sick punishments are not just reserved for slender wide receivers or dashing running backs. Even the tenacious and ever-talkative cornerback Marcus Hudson, who has been known to make a brutal hit or two himself, remembers the one -- and only -- time he got in the way of Hoyte.

    During practice this spring, Hudson was covering a receiver making a route across the middle of the field. Unfortunately for Hudson, Hoyte was coming from the opposite direction to help break up the pass. When Hudson leaped to swipe the ball, he ran right into oncoming traffic.

    "Let me tell you about spring. When he hit me, the world was spinning. I came off to the sidelines," Hudson said.

    Getting in Hoyte's way is a mistake Hudson said he wouldn't make again.

    "I'm scared to get hit by him,"Hudson said. "Even if I'm tackling somebody and I know he's coming, I might back up and make room."

    During Hoyte's freshman year in 2002, Hudson recalls the linebacker making a hit so hard, it knocked an opponent dumbfounded.

    "His freshman year, he hit somebody on the kickoff," Hudson said. "They got up and walked to our sidelines."

    Hits like these have left Hudson with a new nickname for his defensive compatriot.

    "Ollie Hoyte -- his name is 'Ollie Hurt.'"

    'It's all I got'

    Shirley Ann Watts sat in the stands, watching Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla., just an hour from her house in Tampa. She beamed with pride as her son recorded four tackles in a rout of Kansas.

    There was no way Shirley Ann was going to miss her son's first start in a bowl game.

    "I made sure I got there," she said.

    She recalls with admiration thinking all that she hoped her only son would accomplish.

    "He's going to be something. He's going to be the best," Shirley Ann said.

    Hoyte has done exactly that. The only senior in State's starting linebacker corps, the lone wolf has the daunting responsibility of replacing the leadership of departed Freddy Aughtry-Lindsay and Pat Thomas, and being the next in-line in State's linebacker tradition.

    But off the field, none of that matters next to his relationship with Mom.

    He may be a fierce competitor on the field, but Hoyte is every bit the doting son when it comes to Shirley Ann -- dedicating an unconditional love for the most important person in his life, his confidant.

    "It's all I got," Hoyte said. ""She's a great woman."

    He calls Shirley Ann every day, no matter what -- sometimes just to check in, often just to shoot the breeze, just like they did in the old days. When he's back home, Hoyte will sit beside his mom and they talk, about nothing, everything, anything.

    "We just talk, reminisce about old stuff that used to happen around the house when I was little," Hoyte said.

    Those talks taught Hoyte priceless lessons.

    "Respect your elders and do what you're told, treat people the way you want to be treated," Hoyte said. "And she always said if someone comes up to you, like a homeless person, don't ever be rude to them. If you have it and your willing to give, give. If not, just respect everyone."

    Like any mother, Shirley Ann holds the key that goes directly to her son's heart -- a hot plate of lasagna.

    "When I go home, she's in a wheelchair now, but she gets up and cooks," Hoyte said.

    Shirley Ann may be in a wheelchair, but it won't stop her from seeing her son play.

    "She's been to a whole heap of games. That wheelchair doesn't stop her from doing anything," Hoyte said. "It doesn't limit her at all. She does everything she used to do."

    'She raised me right'

    Running backs and wide receivers may tremble at the thought of getting busted in the mouth by Hoyte, but Shirley Ann knows exactly what terrifies her son.

    "He's scared of grasshoppers. When he was small, he used to be scared of grasshoppers. He never told me why. I think it's because they hop," Shirley Ann said. "My father used to put them on him and scare him."

    Possibly the only other thing to command the fear of Hoyte as a youngster was the thought of punishment from Shirley Ann. Though he is adored by his mother, Hoyte knew exactly who the boss was growing up.

    Shirley Ann meant business -- and Hoyte completely understood that.

    "I used to get a whooping every day. If she thought I did something wrong, she was on me," Hotye said. "I think that as a kid, every kid is a sneaky kid, but there's a lot of things I didn't do because I didn't want to deal with the consequences. She raised me right."

    But times weren't always the best for Hoyte and his family. In his four years of high school, five of his close family members passed away, including his father.

    His father worked at a chemical plant, which Hoyte said he believes is the reason he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in 2000.

    Amid the pain, Hoyte recalls his relationship with his father with fondness.

    "We had a real good relationship before he passed. As I got older, we started spending more quality time together. We'd just get in the car and just ride. No destination, just ride in the car. I really enjoyed all that time. He told me a lot of things, tips. I appreciate that."

    And through rough times, Hoyte forged an unbreakable bond with his mother. When his father passed, he made it his mission to take care of Shirley Ann -- and to keep her smiling.

    "I had to be strong because my mom was there through this and she was alone. I had to be strong for her," Hoyte said.

    "Even though things were hard around the house, I always tried to keep my mom smiling. Try to do something funny to make her smile," Hoyte said. "Things have never been easy, nothing came easy. I just try to keep people smiling and laughing around the house."

    For his sisters' sake, Hoyte made sure he took care of the rest of his family as well.

    Though he was the second youngest in the family, Hoyte knew what kind of leadership role he had to take. He made sure his sisters kept their heads up.

    "I don't want anybody down because this happened. Don't worry about those things, because where there is a will, there is a way," Hoyte said he told his sisters. "I try to tell my sister, don't worry, everything will be alright. Just try to keep it positive."

    Also adored by Hoyte is his nieces and nephews. One in particular has taken a liking to Hoyte -- his eldest nephew Jeffrey Davis.

    "He [Jeffrey] is so smart. He understands football and everything," Hoyte said.

    Shirley Ann has seen firsthand Jeffrey's admiration of his uncle.

    "He wants to be a football player. He loves Oliver very much. When he goes out he tells everybody, 'you see 22? you see 22 ? He's great Ñthats my uncle!' He's really crazy about Oliver."

    Not that Jeffrey won't put his uncle in his place. During the Ohio State game in 2004, Hoyte slipped while trying to make a tackle. Jeffrey let him have it.

    "The Ohio State game he came to, I had slipped," Hoyte said. "At the end of the game, he came up and said 'Why did you let him knock you down?' He's so funny."

    When Hoyte visits his nieces and nephews in Florida, he often takes them outside to the backyard field for a football game.

    "I go get them, take them out there, tire them out, and they go home and go to sleep," Hoyte said.

    And when he goes on the field at Carter-Finely, Hoyte knows there's a special person watching, admiring, loving every minute of it -- his mom.

    "I know that if she's in the stands or watching it on TV at home, I know her reaction at home, she's saying 'that's my baby.'"

    The future coach

    It was Billy Turner, Hoyte's head coach at Chamberlain, who gave him the nickname 'Ollie.' He gave his players rides home when they had missed the bus or stayed late to lift after practice. On those car rides home, Turner would talk to his players about life and hear out any troubles they were having. When colleges came calling with job offers, Turner stayed at Chamberlain -- for his players, who looked to him as a father figure. People like Turner are the reason why Hoyte wants to coach.

    "Coaches in all sports are like father figures to the players, especially to those that don't have one in the household," Hoyte said.

    Every summer, Hoyte and his best friend, Sam Colbreth, a wide receiver at Gannon University in Pennsylvania, have volunteered at a youth football camp in Tampa sponsored by NFL fullback Mike Alstott.

    "It's a great program he's got there. All kind of coaches from all around the world come volunteer and help out," Hoyte said. "Underprivileged kids and all come in and get an opportunity to play football and learn the fundamentals of the game."

    Hoyte has worked at the camp with Colbreth every summer since his senior year in high school. The camp works with youth in the Tampa area from ages 7 up to 18. Hoyte said he finds the rewards of working with kids invaluable.

    "When you go to these camps, there's so many coaches out there. They get a group of five kids with one coach. You can pretty much be individual with each player and help them so far along," Hoyte said. "They're at the camp for a week they learn so much stuff -- stuff they never had known."

    Hoyte said he pays particular attention to the kids who might need a little extra help -- especially those who might not have a father figure at home.

    "Coaches are very important in developing young players," Hoyte said. "That's something I take into consideration when I go out there. If I see a kid with his head down, I try and pick him up -- because he doesn't have that guy at home to give him the confidence to keep his head up."

    The satisfaction from helping others at camp has lingered in Hoyte, creating a passion -- and inspiring a future career choice.

    Hoyte said when his playing days are over, he wants to coach high school football then open up sports clinics for children. Hoyte said he will use his sports management major and business minor to run sports training centers. He wants to make a difference in the lives of kids.

    "I want to coach. It's the greatest feeling. I love kids."

    Whether its coaching, playing, or helping kids, Hoyte can't leave the game. It's the blood that rushes through his veins. It's an addiction.

    "Football is my life. I have to be around it."

    Brotherly love

    Hoyte wants to make a difference in the lives of the kids he coaches -- and be a hero. But a longtime friend and current N.C. State teammate already considers Hoyte his hero.

    "I tell him all the time he's one of my biggest heroes," Clark said. "I love him like a brother."

    Though the two have played football together for almost the entirety of their careers, it was in college that Clark said Hoyte motivated him the most. The leadership role that Clark shares with Hoyte has been molded by the lessons the wide receiver has learned from his longtime teammate. Throughout high school and college, whenever Clark became frustrated with his game, Hoyte was the one to put things in focus.

    "I've never been the guy that everyone's thought was the best. Sometimes for kids that want that attention...I enjoy it. He kind of pulled me aside and said 'that's not what it's all about,'" Clark said.

    "'It's about doing what you have to do to do your job. If its catching 100 balls and nobody sees it, then so be it. Just as long as you perform on Fridays,' and thats what he told me [then] and now in college."

    Clark has also had to chance to see the lighter side of Hoyte. The wideout has been on the receiving end of the video game novice's mastery of Playstation, especially NCAA Football 2006.

    "Video games is his thing. He'll compete with you. He takes it seriously. I'm terrible at the game, so whenever I play he smashes me. He twenty-ones me real quick, so I don't ever get to play too much."

    Though his quiet demeanor may suggest otherwise, Clark said Hoyte has the quite the comical side.

    "He'll tell jokes -- I call them lies -- he's always telling me lies, these big lies but he calls them jokes," Clark said. "He's a fun guy to be around."

    But the two share more than just a good laugh. Like brothers who share an unconscious, fraternal understanding, Hoyte and Clark remind one another where they came from, their foundation. They've seen one another grow.

    "Whenever I get down on myself, he's like a big brother to me, even though he's younger. He's like a big brother just to tell me 'I remember who you are.' He reminds me of who I was," Clark said. "He'll tell you I was the sorriest thing coming out. He saw me grow and he reminds of that every day."

    But the wide receiver has also seen his old ally grow -- and become the man of the house.

    "He stepped out of the box and said, 'I'm going to dedicate my life to my mom and football. And doing whatever I have to do to play the game.'"

    And somewhere down in Tampa, a mother is smiling.
  15. PullMyFinger

    PullMyFinger Old Fashioned

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    What the hell is up with him????

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