Making an impact

Redshirt freshman WR Shane Hooks had his best day of the fall camp on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, with a handful of receptions during team portions of practice. 

Due to injury, redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks hasn’t been a full-time participant in practice during the Bobcats’ fall camp.

But wearing a red jersey on Monday, Hooks took part in several team segments and had limited duty during the two-hour morning workout inside Peden. It didn’t take long to realize why QB Nathan Rourke and OC Tim Albin are high on the potential of the 6-foot-4 target out of Orlando.

During a two-minute drill near the start of practice, Hooks nearly won a 50-50 ball on a deep fade route. On the very next snap, Hooks did reel in a catch — while falling out of bounds — on a deep corner to set up the ball at the one-yard line.

Hooks added three more receptions — including a contested catch on a go route down the left sideline — during additional team segments.

It was a just a handful of opportunities, but the ratio of big plays-to-targets has been high with Hooks during his brief forays in camp so far.

Hooks showed similar glimpses during the 2018 camp, and appeared in four games for Ohio last season. He was targeted a handful of times, but did not record a reception.

Ohio would love Hooks to explode through the remainder of camp and claim cleanly the WR spot opposite the established Cam Odom. If, and that’s always the rub with young players, he can develop more consistency and become effective in blocking on the perimeter, he has the physical ability to be a difference-maker.

Here’s more from Monday’s practice, a full pads affair under what felt like a stifling sun inside Peden on Monday:

— Upon further review there was one notable injury from Saturday’s scrimmage. WR Drew Keszei is going to miss some time with a strained shoulder; he sat out while wearing a sling on Monday.

— It’s more bad news for DE Amir Miller. Miller, who has had knee injuries in back-to-back fall camps, returned to practice after a multiple-day absence on Monday. His right hand/wrist was heavily wrapped and he was a non-participant.

— There were a pair of on-the-field injuries on Monday as offensive linemen Stephen Hayes (C) and backup left guard Kurt Danneker both had ankle mishaps. Hayes stumped around his the rest of practice, but was taken out of all team drills. Danneker was unable to continue. Nick Sink took Hayes’ reps with the first team, and redshirt freshman Tristan Kieffer filled Danneker’s spot on the second team.

— Hooks wasn’t the only player to up his participation level on Monday. CB Jamal Hudson was limited but wearing a red jersey. RB Julian Ross was not in red, and still isn’t taking a regular load in practice, but is adding to his workload with more reps.

— WR Tyler Tupa was back to full go on Monday and worked with Odom and slot receiver Jerome Buckner as the first-team receiver group during the two-minute drill phase of practice. He won a jump ball in the corner of the end zone from Nathan Rourke for a one-yard touchdown.

— The backup QB battle isn’t over yet. On Monday, it was Joe Mischler who took most of the reps with the second team offense, and it was Mischler — not Kurtis Rourke — who guided the second of the two two-minute drills to open the team portion of practice. Mischler capped his drive with an interception in the end zone (Tariq Drake) on a Hail Mary. The heave came one play after K.J. Minter’s touchdown catch on a fade was waived off for offensive pass interference.

— The only turnover during Monday’s team segments came from Kurtis Rourke. His screen pass in the flat ricocheted off the hands of Ty Walton, and DE Austin Conrad came down with the ball for the INT.

— The defense came away with two would-be sacks in the team segments. Ends Will Evans and Amos Ogun-Semore got by RT Marques Grimes on two separate occasions for blown-dead plays against Nathan Rourke.

— Speaking of QB hits, Kurtis Rourke was knocked to the ground after a pass attempt during another team portion. The knockdown prompted an outburst from Hayes, who was on the sideline at the time and was not happy to see a QB knocked down. After an verbal barrage, Hayes was sent to run stadium steps by Frank Solich. Linemen Hagen Meservy and Nick Sink joined him in a show of solidarity.

— Three more NFL scouts watched Monday’s practice. Reps from the Indianapolis Colts, the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons were on hand.

— The more I see of De’Montre Tuggle at RB, the more I’m appreciating his quick feet. I don’t think he’s the fastest back available — most say that’s Julian Ross — but he ramps up to top speed quickly. He’s improved dramatically on catching the ball out of the backfield as well.

— Redshirt freshman DT Antrez Baker, a 2018 signee, has not been in fall camp. Baker, who moved from DE to DT in the spring, isn't expected to arrive for any portion of camp either. His status on the roster moving forward is uncertain.

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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