With rain coming down for the first half of practice it didn't deter the Golden Hurricane from conducting an 80-play scrimmage to end the two-hour workout on the first day of full pads Thursday morning.
The Hurricane practiced today on the turf of H.A. Chapman Stadium for the first time during preseason camp.
The rain seemed to affect the receiving corps today, but practicing in full pads will help the coaching staff separate those players who they expect to contribute in 2014.
"Today, the rain bothered our receivers a whole lot more than it bothered everybody else. And that can't matter. It doesn't matter what the weather is, we have to be able to get past it. I thought as we went on it got better, but mentally we weren't very tough offensively in dealing with the water," said Blankenship.
"The nice thing, if you can have a nice part about it offensively, we had a quarterback putting the ball where it's supposed to be and we had guys running open. From that standpoint, we just had way too many drops offensively," added Blankenship "Defensively, I thought we made some plays too. We broke up some nice passes and we really covered well at times. I think if you talk to them, they're going to feel like we also had some guys running free. This is what first scrimmages are about. We're going to get into some situations late in the game where we're going to hammer it a little bit on the goal line, and also in overtime situations."
Asked if practicing in full pads for the first time, helps separate the men vs. the boys, Blankenship commented, "It does. It really does. We have so much film to watch, and that's why we're excited about it. You can glean a little bit as you're standing there watching the scrimmage, but when we get in there, people are going to really show up and some will disappear. That's why you love it when there are loud noises and banging around out here, because it becomes a man's game."
Blankenship cited a few players who had good performances today. "On offense, again this is just first blush, I thought I saw James (Flanders) and Tavarreon (Dickerson) both make some nice runs. We were trying to push the passing game a little more. I thought Dane (Evans) really played well for the most part," said Blankenship.
"Defensively, I continue to see Demarco (Nelson) make plays. I saw Kerwin Thomas make some nice plays," added Blankenship. "I'll have a better feel for it as we go back and sort through the film."