ORLANDO -- The cold, windy conditions persisted at Thursday's practice. Both teams came out wearing helmets only. Red spent much of the session doing individual work and then finished by tightening up their red-zone package. Silver ran 11-on-11 for the majority of practice, moving the ball up and down the field. Thursday was clearly a day to begin sharpening up for Saturday's main event.
Silver hitting on all cylinders
After three days of work, Silver's quarterbacks and wide receivers seem to have gotten their timing down. Kyle Parker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bartram Trail) continued his strong week and E.J. Manuel (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) elevated his play despite the difficult conditions. Both QBs hit on a number of out routes, displaying their arm strength.
Wide receiver A.J. Green (Ridgeville, S.C./Summerville) made several impressive grabs, most notably on a poorly-thrown post pass when he adjusted to make the reception over his back shoulder with double coverage on him. For the third day in a row, T.J. Lawrence (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen) made a note-worthy reception after diving back for a low throw over the middle.
Blake Ayles (Orange, Calif./Lutheran), who seems to find his way into every practice report, had another strong session. It's interesting to note that the athletic Ayles looks much bigger than his listed measureables in pads, but in sweatpants appears to be closer to 220 pounds. Brandon Moore (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) dropped some balls early but recovered making a nice grab in the back of the end zone by staying in phase with the quarterback.
Terrance Parks (Fairburn, Ga./Creekside) continues to exhibit the movement skills of a corner while playing in a safety's body. He made an exceptional break on a Manuel deep out to Chris Tolliver (Rayville, La.), diving toward the sideline to bat away the pass.
Outside linebacker Nigel Carr (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) made several outstanding plays behind the line and in pass coverage, displaying his versatility. On one occasion, Carr took a violent stiff arm from running back Jamie Harper (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) which sparked some friendly jawing for a few plays.
Red focuses on goalline sets
During individual drives, running back Jermie Calhoun (Van, Texas) impressed with his acceleration and pass-catching, especially for a big back. Future Sooner teammate Landry Jones (Artesia, N.M.) connected on a nice fade to Darryl Stonum (Stafford, Texas/Dulles). Braden Hanson (Charlotte, N.C./Latin) tossed a well-timed corner route to Martin Bayless (Fresno, Texas/Hightower) who made a great leaping grab.
During red-zone work, running back Carlton Thomas (Frostproof, Fla.) took a quick toss and beat the speedy defenders to the corner for a score. For the second straight day, quarterbacks Jones and Mike Glennon (Centreville, Va./Westfield) weren't affected much by the swirling winds. Finally, the Red offensive line, which bonded well as a group this week, hurdled into a scrum at the far goalline and hopped together off the practice field to end the session.
Safety Jamoris Slaughter (Stone Mountain, Ga./Tucker) was once again in street clothes but this time in a wheelchair -- he is out for Saturday. Burton Scott (Prichard, Ala./Vigor) was hospitalized last night with the flu but hopes to play. Wide receiver Deion Walker (Christchurch, Va.) is day-to-day with a strained knee and is expected to be outfitted with a brace but is probable for Saturday's game.
Craig Haubert, Bill Conley and Wade Geraci are recruiting coordinators for Scouts Inc.