Offensive guard Grant Cook did not practice. He left Monday's practice with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Brey Cook took first team snaps for the second straight day Tuesday. Head coach Bobby Petrino said after Tuesday's practice that it was Brey Cook's best workout Monday and he thought he did well again Tuesday.
Wide receiver Keante Minor and defensive tackle DeMarcus Hodge both returned to workouts Tuesday after missing Monday's practice. Still missing Tuesday was safety Darrell Smith. Defensive end Lonnie Gosha also was missing Tuesday.
Petrino said it was the second straight solid practice, although he said quarterbacks are still inconsistent in some phases. Both Tyler Wilson and Brandon Mitchell seemed to be on target with plenty of hookups in both 7-on-7 and team work. Wilson said afterwards he was pleased with some aspects of the last two days, especially Monday when he said "there were only three balls hit the ground."
Wilson thinks the timing has improved a lot since the start of fall practices, partly because the wide receivers and quarterbacks are getting used to coming in and out of breaks on grass. The players have worked on field turf all summer. Grass isn't quite as fast and the timing had to adjust.
"I think you saw that a lot the last two days," Wilson said. "I think we are all getting more used to this surface. It's different than artificial surface for the receivers.
"Our timing is going to keep improving, too. There are a lot fewer balls on the ground now than when we started. This is day six and it's just flying by.
"I thought we did some things better as far as the emotion when we got on the goal line. There was some competition there between the units and I thought we had a good day."
Wilson said he still has work to do.
"We were in the third down period and there were a couple of times where Coach Petrino had to remind me that I can run the ball," he said. "I tend to think you are supposed to throw the ball and I held it today on two plays. He showed me what I missed. I have to improve that and remember that (quarterbacks) can run it, too."
Petrino doesn't miss a beat. He worked on the defense to "run to the ball" on every play, reminding players and coaches to emphasize that on each play during two different periods during the workout.
While the squad has not scrimmaged yet, Petrino said the work has been "physical." He also said the offensive line improved after the addition of full pads in the last two workouts.
"I've been encouraged by the last two workouts," he said. "They have been very competitive workouts between the offensive and defense. I think the offensive line, once we got on pads, gave me encouragement. They've shown their ability.
"We still have a long way to go on our technique. They have to get the first step right. But they've have shown that they are willing learners and coachable. Before it's over they are going to be a good offensive line. We've got time."
Petrino noted the improvement in the timing in the passing game. He said it's helped that the offensive line has provided a pocket in the last couple of days.
"We wanted to see our receivers make contested catches and we've seen that the last two days," he said. "The quarterbacks have been inconsistent, but they have taken strides the last two days. We have done well in our play-action and quick game but we have to get better in our dropback game.
"We just have to keep getting better each day. They have to just keep making it fun and practicing hard."
Petrino was asked about the offensive line technique.
"We've gotten better," he said. "The first couple of days, I think there was some panic because of the speed we have at defensive end. But we are getting our technique back."
Petrino praised fullback Kiero Small. He called the juco transfer "a quick learner. He can deliver a blow. He can catch it. We have to find out if he's going to be our short yardage back like Broderick Green was last year, or it's going to be someone else like Knile Davis."
Petrino said the Hogs are utilizing a new piece of equipment at practice, a small camera on a pole that is positioned behind the quarterback. It's connected to a laptop at the base of the pole. It should provide a video that shows the same look the quarterback gets in reads.
"We have been trying to get it out there," he said. "We wanted it for spring, but it's just now here. I'm not real happy that we are just now getting it. I have not seen the video yet. It's something that should allow us to see what the quarterback sees. We were supposed to have it for spring ball but we didn't get it until now."
Petrino praised the work of Colton Miles-Nash at tight end. He said he's been a boost to the running game, especially with the way they "set the edge" for Davis.
"I like his punch," Petrino said. "I think we've been able to set the edge better (than in the spring). It was a no brainer. Our offensive line helped recruit him."
Petrino said he was pleased with the early results of some other moves -- Davyon McKinney from wide receiver to cornerback and Grady Ollison from defensive end to offensive tackle. He said defensive coordinator Willy Robinson recruited McKinney because of his physical presence in blocking drills.
"We were encouraged by what we saw with Ollison at defensive end, but we had a need in the offensive line," he said. "We are not three deep there. He's talented, has great feet and is smart. He's going to be a special offensive lineman.
"McKinney, when we watched drills, was very physical. Willy really wanted a 6-2, 6-1 1/2 cornerback who is a willing hitter."
Concerning the hitting, Petrino said there would be plenty in camp. But, he wants to be careful.
"We will be physical in practice and our players have shown with their experience that they can be careful (about protecting their teammates)," he said. "So we do need to be smart about it. We do practice better since we are experienced. They are good about not going to the ground."
Petrino was asked about a new deep snapper, true freshman Alan D'appollonio, a product of Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix.
"He's got very good velocity," Petrino said. "Coach (Chris Klenakis) found him. He has been to all of the specialty camps. He has looked good on punt (snaps). Today on placements, he was a little wild and it was behind the holder a few times. But I think that's just a matter of getting him aimed right. We like his velocity."