The Bills rookies and tryout candidates were back on the field Saturday for another pair of practices as they continue to try to adjust to the respective offensive and defensive schemes while also attempting to make a good first impression on Buffalo's coaching staff.
Draft picks Eric Wood and Andy Levitre continued to line up at right and left guard respectively. Wood again got a few reps at center during team work. During individual drills, Levitre was also given a few snaps in the pivot.
"Andy has played guard and tackle and he's actually snapped in practices too," said head coach Dick Jauron. "So he has some snapping experience."
It appears the Bills wanted to as least see how well Levitre can handle that added assignment, though it was very brief.
At this point in time Levitre is more focused on the basics of the offensive scheme than where he's lining up.
"Right now I'm just learning the playbook and getting to understand some of the concepts and the techniques that they teach here," said Levitre. "I'm learning a lot right now."
The morning session featured some 7-on-7 skill work late in the practice. Shawn Nelson got things started with a reception on a quick slant when split wide. Nelson had a couple of hiccups during the practice with some false starts, but worked through them and performed more consistently in the afternoon.
Tryout receiver De'Cody Fagg made a reception over the middle while fellow tryout wideout Alonzo Phillips made a nice grab in traffic.
Defensively fifth-round pick Nic Harris had a pass breakup on a play that was going to tight end Travis McCall. Harris shadowed the tight end well in coverage and got his hand in the passing lane to prevent the completion.
"I'm just trying to make plays," said Harris. "Right now just being an athletic guy, being brought down to the linebacker position. I played a little bit at OU, not necessarily linebacker, but covering receivers and stuff like that. Kind of with the scheme right now it's an every down linebacker. It's new, but I'm learning on the curve."
Sixth-round pick Cary Harris had a pass defensed in the flat to force an incompletion. And tryout defensive back Dante Dunn (Wayne St.) had an interception off tryout QB Gary Rogers on an overthrown ball.
The afternoon featured a few receptions by Nelson and fellow tight end Travis McCall. The receivers also were a factor with De'Cody Fagg making a couple of catches, but the play of the day went to tryout receiver Alonzo Phillips. After getting behind Cary Harris, tryout quarterback Daniel Polk hit him on a 50-yard bomb for a touchdown.
Wide receiver coach Tyke Tolbert had some positive words for Phillips as he made up for a play earlier in practice when he incorrectly stemmed a deep route inside instead of staying outside the numbers.
Defensively, seventh-round pick Ellis Lankster has settled in pretty well in terms of coverage assignments in the 7-on-7 setting, which is a good sign knowing he's coming from a West Virginia defense that wasn't anything like Buffalo's.
"It's totally different because we had different disguises or different coverages that we'd play," said Lankster. "But I feel I can adapt to it. I feel like I'm fitting in real nicely. I'm learning the defense real fast so I feel like I'm doing a good job."
Players getting long looks
Some of the tryout players are getting long looks from the Bills staff because there are certain positions that aren't manned by draft picks or practice squad players.
Among the players getting an extended opportunity is strong safety Tyrrell Herbert (Toledo), who has been lining up with the draft picks and undrafted signings on the first rookie defense.
Also in that group has been undrafted free agent Ashlee Palmer (Mississippi) who has been manning the weak side linebacker position.
On the offensive side of the ball undrafted offensive tackles Joel Bell (Furman) and Nick Hennessey (Colgate) have been on the first rookie unit offensive line with draft picks Eric Wood and Andy Levitre.
At receiver a host of tryout players are getting reps. With 2008 practice squad players Mike Jefferson and C.J. Hawthorne not participating it's afforded more snaps for Jon Davis (Azusa Pacific), De'Cody Fagg (Florida St.), Bradon Godfrey (Utah), Alonzo Phillips (Florida Intl) and Dominique Thompson (William & Mary).
With no draft picks or undrafted signings at the running back position, tryout players Rashad Cummings (No. Greenville), Mike Davis (South Carolina), Justice Hairston (Cent. Connecticut St.) and Maurice Wells (Ohio St.) have been carrying the load.
Fourth-round pick Shawn Nelson also has some tryout players behind him this weekend, with tight ends Nate Lawrie (Yale) and Cody Boyd (Washington St.) getting work.
The three quarterbacks are all tryout players as well with Cullen Harper (Clemson), Daniel Polk (Midwestern St.) and Gary Rogers (Washington St.) doing all the passing.
Buffalo wraps up their rookie minicamp with a single practice session Sunday.