C.J. MIZELL BACK IN AS NO. 1 MIDDLE 'BACKER
PULLMAN -- After a needed day off from the gridiron, the Cougs jumped right back into action and looked sharp on Tuesday morning. Paul Wulff was pleased with the Cougars’ performance while LB C.J. Mizell, based on his own performance this camp, has moved up the depth chart, Wulff announced. On Tuesday, Mizell hopped back in with the 1s and was, without question, the star of the day on defense.
"It was a really efficient practice," Paul Wulff said. "We didn't hit real hard intentionally because we're going to scrimmage tomorrow afternoon so we wanted to make sure we'll be ready to go for that."
The morning session was dominated by position drills, but the Cougs met up for the last 25 minutes for a session devoted strictly to live action.
During that period, the defense had the upper hand on the offense for the majority of time, with both the defensive line and secondary putting in some solid work.
During the first series, the offense couldn't find any rhythm and it began with a fumbled snap by QB Jeff Tuel, followed by a “sack” by WIL LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis.
On the next play, RB Logwone Mitz found a seam up the middle, only to be stopped by C.J. Mizell who shot the gap for the tackle. Mizell, who had spent most of the time running with the 2s thus far in camp, had his most productive practice of camp.
Earlier in practice during the 7-on-7 skelly drill, Mizell had one of the better defensive plays of the day when he dove full extension to break up a pass from Tuel intended for WR Henry Eaddy. Mizell also saw some action running with the 2s, and on one play flew into the backfield, meeting squarely RB Leon Brooks -- Mizell stripped the ball from Brooks, secured it to his body and take it back 10 yards for a score.
But Mizell has jumped back into the No. 1 spot at the middle linebacker spot in the hotly contested battle with Mike Ledgerwood.
"We sat down yesterday and after the first full week and first 10 practices, we decided we're going to start moving some people around based on their performance," Wulff said. "C.J. has practiced well and done well, and we're going to continue to try and start putting guys in positions to get them to take another step."
"It felt good, you know just hard work paying off," Mizell said. "I've been working a lot on my work ethic."
Mizell told CF.C he was happy to be back with the 1s, but he knows that he needs to continue to study and get better. He added that he worked steadily on his work ethic over the summer, and
is working on becoming a vocal leader for the defense in 2011.
"They're calling me ‘The General’ now so I've got to lead the troops," Mizell said with a smile. "I'm trying to be very vocal and let everyone know that I'm here with them and continue the hype and enthusiasm up because when we do that we make a whole lot more plays."
Another solid play for the defense came from CB Brandon Golden, who broke up a pass from Tuel intended for WR Marquess Wilson. Wilson appeared to have Golden beat on a route, but Golden was able to get back in time, get his hands up, and prevent the star WR to come down with what would have been a 20-25 yard reception.
As sharp as the defense was, the offense still had several solid plays worth noting.
Tuel, who struggled a bit early to develop a rhythm, fired a perfect pass to WR Isiah Barton for a 35-yard gain that would have resulted in six had Wulff not called the play dead.
Meanwhile, with the 2s lined up against the 2s, QB Marshall Lobbestael threw an absolute dime to WR Bobby Ratliff for a 50 yard TD strike when the redshirt freshman speedster got behind CB Travion Smith.
Lobbestael did have one stumble in practice though, when on the run he threw a 40 yard heave down field that safety Anthony Carpenter picked off, jumping in front of WR Gino Simone.
LT David Gonzales (ankle) returned to practice Tuesday and jumped right back into the starting line up. Back-up LT Dan Spitz however remained sidelined, with the Cougs giving him time to rest a sore shoulder.
DE Ian Knight (quad) returned to practice as well, however spent his day running with the 2s.
CBs Daniel Simmons and Nolan Washington remained sidelined while their collective strained hamstrings heal up. They remain on the stationary bike every day, and it doesn’t appear serious.
The p.m. practice this evening has been shelved. This week’s schedule:
Tuesday – 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday – 2:30 p.m. – Practice/Scrimmage
Thursday – 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Friday – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday – 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Sunday – 8:30 a.m.
Running with the 1s on Day 9:
QB: Jeff Tuel
X receiver: Marquess Wilson
Flanker: Isiah Barton
Z receiver: Jared Karstetter
TE Andrei Lintz
LT: David Gonzales
LG: John Fullington
C: Andrew Roxas
RG: B.J. Guerra
RT: Wade Jacobson
RB: Logwone Mitz (Rickey Galvin also saw substantial action)
LE: Travis Long
LT: Kalafitoni Pole
RT: Anthony Laurenzi
RE: Adam Coerper (Note: Skylar Stormo also seeing action running with the 1s)
SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
MIKE: C.J. Mizell
WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
CB: Travion Smith (Note: Brandon Golden and him split time running with the 1s)
SS: Deone Bucannon
FS: Tyree Toomer
CB: Damante Horton