Wednesday football practice quick hits

By Zach Greenwell

Sorry I’m a little late today. The Toppers finished practice Wednesday right around noon, but I hung around after to chat with receivers coach Terry Obee.

I talked to Obee about the potential of freshman Willie McNeal, and how he can be an explosive piece of Western’s offense. Look for more on McNeal’s role this season at later today.

Pelesasa rests

The biggest news of Wednesday’s practice was that junior quarterback Matt Pelesasa sat out for nearly all drills because of a sore throwing arm, according to Head Coach Willie Taggart.

I only saw Pelesasa take one rep during the time I was at practice, which was a ball greatly overthrown to Bobby Rainey.

In Pelesasa’s absence, I’d say sophomore Kawaun Jakes took about 70 percent of the snaps, while freshman Brandon Doughty got the rest.

It was a good day for both quarterbacks, as Western worked on attacking a nickel defense with short, quick passes.

I’ll have more quarterback updates in a notebook on the Herald’s Web site today.

A few other notes from today’s practice:

— Junior tackle Wes Jeffries was in a sling at practice Wednesday, but Taggart said that it was a minor arm injury that he has been nursing all camp. We’ll keep an eye on that situation, because Jeffries is simply a lineman that the Toppers can’t afford to lose.

— Senior linebacker Chris Bullard was back on the field with the first-team defense today. Bullard had been sidelined for the first week of camp after having minor knee surgery this summer.

— With kicker/punter Casey Tinius still out with a groin injury, freshman Hendrix Brakefield looked as impressive to me as he has all camp.

Brakefield rattled off about five or six straight solid punts at one point, showing that potential that Taggart has mentioned before.

Freshman kicker Monte Merrick, filling in for Tinius, also made the first field goal I can recall seeing him make so far, a chip shot from about 21 yards.

— A couple guys that impressed me today: receiver Jamarielle Brown and running back Dalton Cissell.

I know we’ve tooted Cissell’s horn on a few occasions to this point, but the freshman has frankly looked better than any RB in camp not named Bobby Rainey. Cissell’s biggest play of the day was a strong run of about 25 yards, taking down numerous tacklers along the way.

Again, look for a story on Willie McNeal and a full notebook on the day’s action at in a little bit.


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