Through two practices, rookie defensive tackle Tyson Alualu certainly looks like he was worth the 10th overall selection. He's been difficult to block for the offensive lineman and has drawn praise from the very vocal coach Joe Cullen.
Alualu got to be officially greeted at practice this afternoon in the form of the Oklahoma Drill with fellow Hawaiian Vince Manuwai.
"You can tell it's [Oklahoma Drill] something the fans look forward to," Vince Manuwai said when asked if he enjoyed the Oklahoma Drill. The scoring for the match up between the rookie Alualu and guard Manuwai were different across the board.
Paul Kuharsky, Mark Long of the AP, and myself all scored it 2-1 for Alualu.
Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com and Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union scored it 2-1 for Manuwai.
Vince Manuwai was asked after practice what he was going to tell the people back home in Hawaii when they asked who won and said with a grin, "Watch the internet, that's what they got it for right?" He was then asked if he had spoken to Alualu's parents yet, as he knows them, "I was waiting until the Oklahoma Drill was done."
Tyson Alualu went the rest of the practice looking good, but still like a rookie. He drew praise from his defensive line coach Joe Cullen at times, but also his ire. In pass rushing drills, Alualu would consistently get pressure on the "quarterback", a.k.a. a towel on the ground. During 11x11 rushing drills, he would disrupt the backfield and force runs outside. The rookie clearly still has a lot to learn, but in only his second practice he's showing a lot of the traits that led Gene Smith and the Jacksonville Jaguars to select him in the draft.
The Good - Joe Cullen
I spent a lot of today watching coach Joe Cullen work with the defensive line. It was mentioned during the off season that Cullen puts a lot of effort into teaching technique, and this is very evident as he barks out orders until the players get the drill perfect, often making them do it over and over.
I should also note that Terrance Knighton, who's taken some flack for being overweight was running conditioning sprints with fellow defensive tackle Tyson Alualu in the morning session of practice.
The Bad - Injuries
The injury bug is starting to bite. We learned yesterday that rookie D'Anthony Smith needed surgery on his right achilles that looks like it will put him out for quite a while, possibly the season. Nate Hughes also went down yesterday with a shoulder injury. I don't even recall seeing him on the field today. Right tackle Eben Britton sat out another practice for unknown reasons, and rookie defensive end Larry Hart didn't participate with his right knee wrapped and iced. Rookie Austen Lane also came up lame in a drill and he missed the latter half of practice. He walked out signing autographs with his right thigh wrapped up.
The Ugly - Nothing
There wasn't really anything atrocious in practice this afternoon. There were a couple more nice passing plays that would be sacks, there were some nice throws made by David Garrard, and there were a couple drops from guys who don't normally drop the ball, like Mike Sims-Walker. Overall, it was a lighter practice and I imagine they will get lighter as the team prepares for the scrimmage.
Quote of Note
"[Chris] Naeole took me under his wing and I had the opportunity to start with him for 5-6 years. I'm doing the same for him. I'm on my 8th year, the same as Chris and now I got another Hawaiian rookie coming in. I understand both sides of it now, being the rookie and the veteran."
-Vince Manuwai, on taking care of rookie Tyson Alualu