The Hogs open the season Sept. 3 against Missouri State. While players said they haven't zeroed in on the opposition, it was noted that it was a game-week atmosphere as far as the structure of practice.
"This was like a Tuesday in game week, physical and intense," offensive guard Alvin Bailey said. "I think you'll see that Wednesday is like a Wednesday of game week. Then we'll have our perfect Thursday. Then, we'll do it all again next week."
It was the first media opportunity since Thursday's mock game, a scrimmage that quarterback Tyler Wilson notched a 22 of 28 passing night for 391 yards. He did have one interception.
"Tyler had a couple of mistakes he can't have in a game, but he had a nice night," McGee said. "It's hard for me to remember that far back since we've had three practices since then. I will say that we've had some productive meeting time and practice time since then."
Wilson said it's time that the offense begins to come together to find an identity. To that end, McGee said he's gone over with the quarterbacks the things they seem to do best.
"The last two days were a chance for the coaches to get away from the players and go through the camp," McGee said. "It was also a chance for the players to get their legs fresh. They did that. Today you could tell they had energy.
"I wanted to study what they do best. Then I wanted to sit down in meetings with the quarterbacks. I had a chance to ask Tyler to tell me about the plays that are his favorites."
Wilson said, "In camp it's a matter of throwing everything at you. Coach then wanted to know what I was comfortable with. He asked me to pick some plays I liked at this point."
Wilson said the offense is coming together.
"We are well on our way," he said. "I think we still have two weeks before we play, but we are real close."
How did Wilson think the scrimmage Thursday night went?
"I think the first offense started off a little slow, but then we ended up having a real good night," he said. "It was a good night of football.
"I think we had a good practice today. There were a few mistakes, but it was a good practice."
There were plenty of questions in the interviews about the offensive line. McGee said there has been steady progress.
"It's starting to get settled in after a lot of mixing and matching," McGee said. "I think what's going on now is they are learning the details.
"You start out by trying to learn your own responsibilities, then you learn what the defense is going to do. Then, you try to understand the clues, become savvy. You have to notice where a defender is putting his hand, where he's leaning to a gap and what that means. They are at that point now. We continue to teach them that area and what the details mean."
Offensive line coach Chris Klenakis didn't reveal a lineup. He said he wasn't going to name a starting five. He said he continues to look at combinations. Asked specifically about the repetitions at weak tackle where true freshman Mitch Smothers and junior college transfer Jason Peacock have battled, Klenakis said "the reps are still being split."
Wilson was asked about the tackle battles.
"I've gotten asked that question several times tonight," Wilson said. "I'll tell you that both Grant Freeman and Mitch Smothers have done real well along with some other players, too. We are getting good play out of those guys."
When asked specifically about Smothers, Klenakis said, "He's getting quality reps. He's done a good job to get in the mix. He is going to make a contribution. We just have to keep working and getting better."
Klenakis said he's not surprised by anything he sees from Smothers. He said it was obvious he was a good talent the first time he watched tape.
"I put in the tape with (head coach Bobby Petrino) and we both said, 'Wow!'" Klenakis said. "That's why we offered him so quickly. Then others followed along. What we saw first was the fundamentals, technique and quickness of a tackle. We saw the good bend and strength and size to play guard. And we saw the smarts to play center. So we saw all that versatility in him. It was a good get anyway you looked at him."
Smothers said he didn't have any thoughts on how quickly he might play.
"I just came in taking it one day at a time," he said. "I just try to do what they coach me to do and learn each day."
Klenakis said that's all he asks.
"We set goals and marks for every play and every practice," he said. "We have high standards on what we want to accomplish and we try to get better every step. That's what we will continue to ask them to do every day.
"We work hard and we are getting better. We just keep setting targets and going forward. We are trying to get everyone ready to play. We have looked at a lot of players at a lot of spots because you have to be prepared for everything.
"How many do we have ready? I don't think in those terms yet. We'll decide that when we get there one week from Friday night."
One of the questions that came up several times concerned the running game and the loss of Knile Davis for the season. How have the other backs filled his shoes?
"I think what you see with our team is that there are always going to be guys who step up to the opportunity," Wilson said. "There is a quote in our training room that I think fits. I think it was from Tiki Barber. You have to be a player when you are hurt and sometimes you have to be a player when someone else is hurt. You have to take advantage of opportunity.
"I think you see guys doing that now. Ronnie Wingo is doing a great job. I think he's gotten better this camp. He's come along even since the first scrimmage. Obviously, we miss No. 7 (Davis), but we have guys stepping up."
McGee was asked about the development of the running game in camp.
"I like what I see," he said. "We are still coming."
Running back Dennis Johnson missed some time last week, but McGee said he wasn't even aware there was much of an injury.
"I think Dennis just wanted a little attention," he said. "I think he's fine."
Running back Tim Horton said Johnson's said it was "a sore lower back and a tweaked hamstring. But I think he's all the way back now. A little rest the last couple of days helped."
Wingo had a solid spring, but McGee said his performance this camp has been at a higher level.
"He's really developed well," McGee said. "We've known he's had tremendous talent. He was just raw when he got here. We've spent a lot of time with him the last two years (to develop that talent). He HAS tried to step up with Knile out. He's brought a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to everything he's done. He's committed. He's been more physical this fall."