Football preseason camp: Day 9

Aug. 16, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dressed in full pads and fighting a warm afternoon, Day 9 for the Dolphins went by with more intense play and a feeling of momentum as a team for the second straight day. The session started with PAT/Field Goal before moving to position drills. Next up, Team Red Zone at the 20 and 10-yard line before the offense and defense battled each other in the box while the receivers and defensive backs went one-on-one in the Red Zone. The end of practice had kickoff and kick return, 7-on-7 and a heated Team Goal Line before finishing off the evening with conditioning. The squad will return to the field at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday for the last double-day of camp before heading out to Media Day at 1 p.m. The following is some highlights and quotes from Day 9:

PAT/FG: Donovan Curry took top honors for the second consecutive day by hitting both of his PAT attempts and connecting on his lone 30-yard field goal attempt. Chris Smith hit his lone PAT and 30-yard field goal attempt. Brett Buxbaum went wide right from PAT but nailed his 30-yard field goal attempt. Joseph Recktenwald pulled his PAT to the left but connected on his 30-yard field goal.

Team Red Zone (O vs. D): 20-YARD LINE: FIRST ROUND: Sophomore receiver Geavon Tribble got three yards on an end around. Senior running back Jerry Brant rushed for eight yards. Junior quarterback Chris Horton had an incomplete pass. SECOND ROUND: The defense stopped the run for no gain. Senior defensive lineman Jason Greenwood recorded a sack. Freshman quarterback Chad Belcher rushed for a touchdown. 10-YARD LINE: FIRST ROUND: Junior quarterback Jason Hohensee completed two passes to freshman running back Anthony Catalano for five yards. The defense rebounded with a coverage sack. SECOND ROUND: Freshman quarterback John Solak rushed for five yards. Freshman linebacker Allen Fennell made a stop at the line.

Inside (O vs. D/7-on-7): FIRST ROUND: On the inside, the defense had six stops compared to four touchdowns by the offense. Fennell had a tackle for loss to start things off. Freshman linebacker Sean Crowley had a stop at the line. Senior running back Bryan Gamble scored a touchdown. Sophomore running back Cecil Coltrane scored a touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Winston Ward had a stop. Sophomore linebacker Tyler Thomas recovered a fumble. Freshman running back Ron Harris scored a touchdown. Brant broke through for a score. The defense recorded a sack after a trip on the snap. Freshman linebacker Todd Copeland made a stop. In one-on-one's, freshman quarterback Ken Latessa went 11-for-15 with three touchdowns (Tribble (2), freshman receiver Ricky Cantartesi). Junior corner Weidner Maxime and sophomore free safety Aaron Woods broke up a pass. Solak went 7-for-14 with four touchdowns (Tribble, Cantartesi, junior receiver Nate Conner, freshman receiver Sam Bell). Senior corner Bryan Flowers broke up a pass.

Junior wide receiver Nate Conner: "It feels great to get back out on the field after sitting out. It's been good to help the guys try to learn the system while I was healing but it's great to get back out there and make an impact.

"There is a 180 degree turnaround from last year's camp because the attitude is so much different. Things have been positive everyday and we've been working on the little things on each side of the ball. We are out here as a whole group instead of being a bunch of individuals.

"Our secondary with Bryan Flowers and Robson Noel is the best that we will ever see in the conference. They help our receivers prepare because no one covers better than they do. The defense has done a great job of raising the intensity level and I'm glad that they are on our side.

"Having Chris Horton as our starter this camp is great. He's my roommate, my best friend and we have always had a connection on the field. We've been working together a lot over the summer and now we are more consistent and starting to click."

Skeleton (7-on-7): FIRST ROUND: Horton went 2-for-4 with completions to Brant and junior receiver Michael Jenner. SECOND ROUND: Belcher went 0-for-2 with an interception to Maxime for a touchdown. THIRD ROUND: Solak finished 1-for-4 with a completion to Cantartesi. Sophomore free safety Byron Berthelot broke up a pass. FOURTH ROUND: Horton went 1-for-4 with a 30-yard strike to Jenner. Freshman strong safety Jason Woods broke up a pass. Fennell knocked a ball out of the hands of a receiver. FIFTH ROUND: Belcher went 2-for-3 with completions to Bell and freshman receiver Bryan Jackson. SIXTH ROUND: Solak finished 2-for-3 with completions to Bell and freshman fullback Dustin Smith.

Team Goal Line (O vs. D): 3-YARD LINE: FIRST ROUND: Junior defensive tackle Kiel Pierce led a stop at the line. Sophomore fullback Jeremy Brown rushed for one yard. Flowers broke up a pass. SECOND ROUND: Gamble rushed for a touchdown. Maxime made a stop at the goal line. Belcher rushed for two yards. THIRD ROUND: Horton completed touchdown passes to sophomore tight end Jon Martinson and Conner. The session ended with a fumbled snap. FOURTH ROUND: Hohensee rushed for two yards. Senior nose guard Ryan Young had a sack. Pierce made a stop at the line.

Junior defensive tackle Kiel Pierce: "The defense has done a good job of stepping up as a group over the last couple of days. The first 11, the second 11 and three deep have come together and we are seeing a difference because of the new leaders that are emerging. The offense is improving as a whole as well. It's been hot out here, but they have made some mental strides by not committing as many penalties or fumbling as many snaps.

"The defense has picked it up the last couple of days because the coaches challenged us. The seniors and I decided that we need to more vocal and get the young guys to start stepping up and raise the intensity. We don't have all the players that we thought we were going to have at this point but we need to step up and grow as a team.

"I don't think there is more pressure on the defensive line but it just means that our role is going to be bigger this year. Our job is to keep the linemen off of the linebackers so they have a better chance to scrape and make a play. We also need to put pressure on the quarterback so the secondary doesn't have to cover for 4-6 seconds and they can be free to make plays."

The Dolphins will return to the practice field at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Key Dates:

August 17 - Media/Picture Day: 1 p.m. at Milne Field
August 18 - First scrimmage, 2:30 p.m.
August 21 - First day of classes
September 2 - First game vs. Gardner-Webb at 7:30 p.m.