Rookie Watch – Checking in on Morning Practice

Hello Cougar Nation,

Longball here to give you an update on what I saw at today’s AM practice. As you may know coach Wulff has split the squads into two sessions each day, rookies in the morning and veterans in the afternoon. It’s all about reps, according to coach Wulff, and it’s a good chance to get as much work as possible for everyone. This morning I got a good glimpse of the future and my first impression…two words:

Jeff Tuel

If anyone watched Tuel’s highlight reel you know the kid shows a great arm to go with some live feet. Check it out here, by the way…

The highlights pretty much alternate between 60 yard TD runs and 60 yard TD passes. I can tell you that in person, he looks great, comfortable and in command leading the rookie offense up and down the field against the rookie D. He showed an easy throwing motion, strong arm and good accuracy, but also a great instinct for when to tuck and go. I was really excited by what I saw. He still looks very young and has a lot of filling out to do on his 6’3″ frame, so lets drop any talk of him playing this year right now. But the future looks very bright for this young man.

On defense I was really excited to see Darren Markle, the highly touted middle linebacker and serious power-lifter(400 bench, 600+ squat!?!), but it was another linebacker who really stood out to me.

Sekope Kaufusi

Good luck pronouncing his name. But however you choose to say it, Sekope stands out on the field not only because of the rock star mane of hair flowing out the back of his helmet, but also because of his size. He lines up at middle linebacker, but has defensive end size. This kid looks like he could be a lot to handle in years to come.

For the most part the O line seemed to have the upper hand, giving Tuel decent time and opening nice holes for the running backs, but whenever a running back found a nice seam up the middle they were met with a pretty loud pop in the defensive backfield followed a lot of cries of “Nice hit Jamal!” That Jamal I speak of? Safety Jamal Atofau, already making a name for himself out there.

Add Jamal to the list of young Cougs you can be very excited about for the future.

Other notes – It was interesting to see former wideout Anthony Houston running with the defense this morning as a cornerback, albeit a very large cornerback. It will be interesting to see if he can develop into a serviceable corner. With his size it would definitely help the defense match up against big receivers. Anyone who was at the Okie State game last year knows what I’m talking about?!

I had a brief chat with Co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears this morning and he succinctly reiterated what we’ve been hearing a lot about this team… bigger, faster, stronger and tougher. Sure sounds good!

That’s it for this morning folks. I will be at the afternoon session too get my first impressions of the guys we will be counting on to make a return to being competitive year. Check in later to see if there is any truth to this talk about gettin’ tough. Until then…


7 Responses to “Rookie Watch – Checking in on Morning Practice”

  1. Sean Hawkins Says:

    Great work Shane. Can't wait for the PM recap as well. Love that about Tuel, but the Kaufusi is a surprise. He's listed as a big dude (6-4, 230?) so if he can move well, he could be something else. I wonder if at that size and frame, if he might be a 250-lb defensive end by this time next year?

  2. The Coug-A-Sutra Says:

    Great work, LB.

    Perhaps its time for us to up your allowance to $10 a week before Cougfan and Grippi come and swallow you up!

    Fantastic, informative, and exciting work.

    Is it September 5th yet?

  3. '03CouveCoug Says:

    Another name I'm hearing often from a couple of sources watching the practices is Andre Barrington. Big frame, which is nice, but also extremely fast…the perfect recipe for an OLB in our scheme.

    Barrington will probably redshirt, but it sounds like the future is bright on the defensive side of the ball. Love hearing about all of the true freshman being impressive! Hope we get back to being the fast, aggressive unit that likes to dish out some snot-bubbling hits like years ago!

  4. Selahcoug Says:

    Thanks for the info, it is great to hear about all of these recruits. Sounds like Wulff and Co. did a great job recruiting last year, hopefully they can keep it up. A big game against Stanford could really help their cause I'm sure.

  5. Lucas Says:

    Coach Ball was on with Furness yesterday, or maybe the day before and had glowing remarks for Barrington. Hope we redshirt as many of these freshmen as possible!!

    Get here faster Labor Day Weekend!

  6. Stiffmiester Says:

    It's hard to see on the vidoe of Tuel but his release looks a little low. How did it look in practice?

  7. Longball Says:

    Hi Stiffmeister,

    His release looked over the top, but maybe a bit deliberate like that was something he was working on.

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