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FOOTBALL: Defense outworks offense in practice

Eric Retter | Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Head coach Charlie Weis was concerned Tuesday about the gap between the performances of sophomore starting quarterback Brady Quinn and the play of his backups, freshmen Darrin Bragg and David Wolke, junior Marty Mooney and senior Stan Revelle.

“The problem I have is that there is definitely a wide separation between the first guy and the guys battling for No. 2,” Weis said. “The first thing I have to do is let them battle it out for No. 2 before I worry about closing the gap to No. 1.”

Quinn’s play, however, has impressed Weis.

“Mentally, he’s handling this very well, at this point,” the coach said. “I hate to say I’m pleasantly surprised, but I’ve been pleased about how he’s been handling the mental aspects.”

Senior Rashon Powers-Neal has been working at halfback as well as his normal position at fullback during spring practice. Powers-Neal was primarily used as a blocker out of the backfield last season, but rushed 13 times for 28 yards, scoring one touchdown, and also caught 10 passes including two touchdowns.

“I think that Rashon in the short over a week that we’ve been dealing with has handled those two positions rather well and has given us a viable backup at [halfback],” Weis said.

The offensive unit struggled in practice, while the defense had a much stronger day. The offense is returning many more players than the defense, but still had a rough session.

“Just because you have experience back doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to have a good day every day,” Weis said. “I tell you what, if the offense played the defense today, it would have been a blowout. I think the defense would have definitely got the best of them today in practice.”

Junior Nate Shiccatano has been practicing at linebacker this week as well as at fullback.

“Here’s the top thing we do: If a guy doesn’t end up being the No. 1 at his position and is a good enough athlete to get on the field, you want to at least see whether or not he could do something else on the field,” Weis said. “We’re just taking a look at him, I wouldn’t call that move official.”