ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Kansas State quarterback Colin Klein had a shaky second day of practice and hasn't looked overly impressive in passing drills so far this week. His biggest issue thus far hasn't been his delivery or accuracy (although both need work), but rather his anticipation and timing.
A learning curve is expected in an all-star environment like this because the quarterbacks are largely unfamiliar with the receivers, but Klein hasn't shown much improvement from Day 1 to Day 2.
At one point, the coaches pulled Klein aside to talk with him about his timing because too often the wide receiver was at the top of his route and looking for the ball before the ball left Klein's hand. He looked much more comfortable throwing to targets who were out of their breaks and facing him, but this caused the receiver to be waiting for the ball, a play that would have easily been broken up if defenders were part of the drill.
So far on the East squad, Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) and Nathan Stanley (Southeastern Louisiana) have out-performed Klein in several areas. The former Kansas State quarterback knows the routes that are being called, but needs to improve his anticipation and decisiveness with his delivery to show scouts he has what it takes to stay at quarterback in the NFL. Maybe with some more reps with this group of receivers, he will start to improve, but it's worth watching the rest of the week.
East Practice Notes:
-- Even though Arizona's Matt Scott (West) might be the most athletic quarterback at this year's Shrine Game, the East's quarterback trio of Klein, Stanley and Cameron are easily the more mobile unit. All three quarterbacks practiced several read-option plays on Tuesday and flashed the needed athleticism to pick up chunks of yards with their legs.
-- It's obvious to see why many scouts think so highly of Florida State wide receiver Rodney Smith with his combination of size and athleticism. But through two practices, he has struggled to play up to his size and needs to do a better job finishing downfield. On Tuesday, he saw quite a few deep ball chances and did an excellent job locating and adjusting his lanky but fluid frame to make a play on the ball. But too often he couldn't complete the catch or would allow the cornerback to out-muscle him, something you don't want to see with a 6-foot- 6, 220-pound wideout.
-- Army wide receiver Trent Steelman is the do-it-all weapon for the East team. After an up-and-down first practice, he looked much more confident Tuesday at receiver and made several impressive catches, including a diving grab near the sideline on an out route. A quarterback in college, he took a few direct snaps during drills and showed his versatility as a runner while also seeing some time as a long-snapper during the special teams' portion of the practice.
-- Richmond safety Cooper Taylor continued to stand out on Tuesday with his aggressive style of play. The coaching staff routinely praised the former Spider for his decisiveness and burst, arriving to the play quickly and ready to blow up the ballcarrier. Somewhat expected with such a tall safety, he plays too upright at times and this will show during full contact drills, but Taylor has looked like one of the most physical players here.
-- It was expected Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham would be one of the fastest on the field as the East squad only had partial pads on Monday. But even with full pads on Tuesday, he still looked like the quickest athlete during the morning practice. Graham also looked good as a return man on special teams, something he hasn't done since his sophomore season with the Panthers.
- California (Pa.) center Eric Kush missed the first half of Tuesday's practice due to a lower left leg injury that was originally thought to be much worse. He returned to the field with his left ankle heavily taped, but did have a minor limp that was noticeable for the rest of practice. However Kush battled through it and showed the toughness you want to see from an offensive lineman.