Inside Defenders minicamp: Day 8
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The final day of the second week of Defenders minicamp followed a storyline all too familiar in the early stages of team activities: The defense was well ahead of the offense.
Day 8 was not a stellar one for the Defenders offense. Defenders quarterbacks Cardale Jones and Tyree Jackson had their moments, but the defense always seemed to be a step ahead. There were more interceptions thrown on Friday than the previous three days combined.
That's not just on the quarterbacks, though. Friday was a tough day for the wide receivers as well.
Former Steelers wideout Eli Rogers made several difficult catches, as he's done all week, but also wasn't able to get as open as he had in previous practices.
But that tends to be a commonality throughout training camps. Team defenses generate more natural energy and communication, meaning the offense tends to lag behind in early development.
Defenders Standouts of the Day
Jon Toth, C: It might have been a rough day for the offensive skill positions, but "Handsome Jon" had himself a great practice. The former Kentucky lineman sparked some early energy when he drove defensive lineman Elijah Qualls into the turf on a pancake block early in 1-on-1s. Now that the players have their pads on, the physicality has picked up, and Toth is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
Kristjan Sokoli, DT: There's a reason Sokoli is so well-liked. The Albanian-born Buffalo graduate is a born leader. He took control of the defensive line group during skill sessions, coaching up his linemates Tavaris Barnes and Peli Anau on different approaches to getting up and underneath their opposition.
Reggie Cole, CB: The Mary Hardin-Baylor product has been impressive all minicamp long. He's one of the vocal leaders of the secondary, and on Friday, made the biggest play of the day. After getting beat by WR Max McCaffrey on the previous play, Cole covered ground and delivered a major hit on McCaffrey, much to the joy of the coaching staff and the entire defense.
Cole Stroll, Ep. 7: Jesse Aniebonam, LB
Who better to make the walk with us in Cole Field House than a guy who had made the walk before, former Maryland Terrapin Jesse Aniebonam.
The physical specimen had some company with him, namely Tavaris Barnes and Sam Montgomery.