January 2, 2008

Offense-Defense: East Wednesday notebook

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Although the East squad for the Offense-Defense Bowl has managed to come up with some major collisions in half pads this week, that is as much equipment as they will wear before the game kicks off Friday night.

"We'll be in shells [half pads] all week," said East offensive coordinator Greg Carr. "You've got limited numbers, and in a game like this you don't want to take the chance of losing a kid [to injury]."

Thus far, the East has avoided injuries.

Scrimmage work has been spirited despite the absence of lower-body protection, however, and most of the blows have been delivered by the defense. Ends Keith Wells and Earl Okine have been consistently causing problems in a pass-rushing role, and the interior of the defense, led by Corey Liuget, Micanor Regis and others, has thwarted the East running game.

"Our whole thing is just getting the kids to the game [without getting hurt]," said Carr. "If we can do that, we've done as much as we can."


Glenn Harbin, a defensive end from Alabama who is arguably the top uncommitted prospect on the East squad, spoke about his recruitment on Wednesday for the first time this week. Harbin said his decision isn't likely to come any time soon.

"Recruiting has slowed down a little bit, but I have five visits in a row starting January 12," said Harbin.

The first of those visits to be to Alabama, followed by North Carolina, LSU and Florida on Feb. 1. Harbin said South Carolina is also in the picture. Unless Harbin squeezes in a weekday visit to the Gamecocks in January, he will only have seen four schools by the time signing day arrives Feb. 6. The signing period extends for weeks, however, and occasionally prospects choose not to sign on signing day if they are unsure.


The first three practices of the O-D week brought wildly different conditions for the players, preparing them for any possible elements for the game Friday night. The opening practice Tuesday morning sweltered in the high 80s, while the afternoon practice brought heavy rains. A cold front followed the rain, and temperatures for Wednesday's morning workout were frigid.

"There were some guys shivering out there," said Brandon Beachum, an East linebacker and Penn State commitment who had no trouble adjusting as an Ohio native. "It was pretty chilly but we got through it alright."

Carr said the cold weather contributed to a few mishandled hand-offs and snap exchanges during the morning workout.


East head coach Cris Carter did not attend either Wednesday practice. According to event organizers, Carter had to fly to New York for an HBO taping, but should be back working with the East squad for Thursday's practice session. ... Quarterback Orhion Johnson, who organizers expected to come in today as a replacement player, did not. Carr said he doesn't expect a third quarterback to be added now, leaving the signal calling exclusively to D.C. Jefferson and Justin Tuggle. ... The O-D event staff had some stock questions for players before opening interviews to the floor on Tuesday, including "What is something nobody knows about you?" A few of the better answers: "I listen to country music" (Jarred Holley, "I love to fish" (Corey Luiget, and "I'm very intellectual" (Keith Wells. ... Holley, whose recruitment has been narrowed to Iowa, Virginia and Pittsburgh, said he will likely make up his mind following his last visit. He has only tripped to Pittsburgh thus far. ... According to Carr, guard Dalton Freeman, who is committed to Clemson, has been among the most impressive this week on the East offense.

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