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August 23, 2012Tweet Follow @achiappazzi
Robert Morris inched closer to its final scrimmage of camp Thursday, with the highlight a full-scale goal line drill. More on that in our premium camp report.
You can tell camp is winding down. The coaching staff is tolerating mistakes less while also conserving the players. Normally, drills like 7-on-7 or 9-on-7 are pretty intense and fast-paced, but today was a day where the 9-on-7 drills were basically a walk-through and the 7-on-7 drills were focused solely on execution, not results. Secondary coach Bill Hurley was watching the defense closely, ensuring they were reacting to routes properly. Joe Walton, meanwhile, was looking for crisply run routes, with cuts coming at the precise time necessary. Whether a QB got a throw off in the coverage or not was actually secondary.
Jeff Sinclair and Matt Layman ran those drills, much like they did the day before. But just like Wednesday, the attitude and the rotation changed as soon as Robert Morris went to 11-on-11 drills. Sinclair and Layman sat the entire session out, observing from the offensive huddle. Freshmen Derik Abbott and Mikal Hall took the snaps in the normal 11-on-11 drills, and then Abbott was the only one to run the goal-line offense. He got 14 plays with the first team offense, all to himself, in a highly significant area of the field. Robert Morris is going to need him, and they need to know what he can do.
We'll get to the results in a moment. First, a little bit about Abbott as a Colonial. He has a good arm, he's accurate, and he's very poised. He certainly doesn't look like a freshman running the offense. That said, he's far from perfect. Abbott has a tendency to pick a receiver - or at least an area of the field - and stare it down. I caught him missing three open receivers on three different plays in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills Thursday, all because he stayed focused elsewhere. Walton caught it too and brusquely reminded Abbott of his reads.
That comes with time and experience. He's not ready to supplant Sinclair or Layman right now, but if Robert Morris had to go to him, I don't think he'd sink like some quarterbacks have in the past. We'll get an even better idea after Saturday's scrimmage.
For details on the goal line battle and more from camp on Thursday, check out the full report.
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at email@example.com.
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