With full pads on for the first time there was plenty of contact, but it was more than that. It took only five plays after the Hogs went live (except tackling to the ground) for the Hogs to be down to the second team at inside linebacker. And during a team segment late in the workout, a large scrum developed between a few linemen.
The big news happened early in the first live segment when starting linebacker Tenarius Wright pulled himself, walking slowly through the offensive side of the field with what looked like a concussion. He was under his own power, but walking stiffly. Alonzo Highsmith, the other starting inside linebacker, is still out with a hamstring injury.
Head coach John L. Smith said through the school sports information office, "Tenarius took a hit and we will continue to evaluate him."
Starting safety Eric Bennett took himself off early in the first live segment. Bennett appears to have a hamstring or groin problem and he was barely walking when he went to the sideline. Cornerback Will Hines left with what looked like a tight quadriceps or cramp late in the workout.
It appeared the scrum happened after sophomore center Mitch Smothers and freshman defensive tackle Darius Philon tangled. It appeared Smothers ended up with Philon's helmet after the play. Those two went at it and eventually were joined by others. Philon had some help from JaMichael Winston. Philon and Winston were high school teammates.
Mostly, it was pushing and shoving with one notable exception. Jason Veltkamp, the strength and conditioning coach, had a take down. He wrestled defensive tackle Jared Green to the ground in an event that helped settle things. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino got offensive guard Alvin Bailey out of the scrum.
Head coach John L. Smith called the team up for a tongue lashing, but practice resumed in fairly quick fashion with no more altercations.
Paul Petrino praised several players afterwards, including freshman wide receiver Mekale McKay. Petrino said the addition of pad and the increase in physical activity allowed McKay to show off his strength.
"Mekale was good against press coverage," Petrino said. "Sometimes you need to see them in pads to find that out. He's been good the last two days. D'Arthur Cowan had really looked good the previous two days. Keon Hatcher is having a good camp, too."
Cowan was not at practice on Monday night. Brett Weir was also out for the Monday workout.
Redshirt freshman Kelvin Fisher moved from cornerback to safety. It also appeared that Rohan Gaines got a lot of first team safety reps ahead of Jerry Mitchell. Ross Rasner also took reps with the ones, splitting time at outside linebacker. Alan Turner stepped in at safety after Bennett went out.
Freshman Otha Peters and senior Terrell Williams were with the ones at inside linebacker after Wright left with the injury. But linebackers coach Taver Johnson was quick to make changes, plus there was lots of action with two huddles working on both sides of the ball in the first live period of the day.
Freshman A. J. Turner also subbed in in fast order at inside linebacker and shot the gap for one tackle deep in the backfield. Peters was ready for Knile Davis on one inside run. He hit Davis, then quickly fell to the side to the ground in an obvious attempt to keep from tackling the All-SEC running back.
Matt Marshall was at strongside linebacker when the Hogs were in their base with three linebackers, but Rasner got as much time there as the Jack linebacker as the packages were mixed. Others getting lots of work at linebacker included Jarrett Lake, Braylon Mitchell, Austin Jones, Robert Atiga and Brad Shearin.
Alvin Bailey, who worked with the twos all last spring and the first four days of camp, was back with the first team at the start of Monday's practice. He still gave way at times to Luke Charpentier with the ones, but seemed to get the bulk of the first snaps.
"It was a good day," Petrino said. "We were flying around and the pads were popping.
"It got a little heated, but that's just a part of football. It happens every once in awhile. It's just part of practice. A guy gets fired up and it happens."
Running back Ronnie Wingo grinned when the scrum was brought up in the interview room.
"It's a part of camp you see every now and then," he said. "It's the heat of battle stuff, but we are still one locker room. It's all fine.
"It's kind of exciting to see. I saw that the Jets had one of those in their camp the other day. But that stuff stays on the field. It's over."
Wingo preferred to talk about his new role with the receivers, instead of the altercation.
"I really like it," he said. "Anything to get the ball more. And they are actually throwing it to me. I'm not just a decoy like before when they've stuck me out there.
"And I still have that wheel route in my back pocket. I like doing anything that helps the team. We have such great competition in our (running backs meeting) room. You want to do anything that gets you more touches and I was all for this."
Knile Davis called the altercation "a little tussle. There was a little emotion out there. Things like that happen in camp at times, but I wouldn't think it would carry over."
What seems to have carried over is the work Brandon Mitchell did at wide receiver during the summer. He seems to be working himself into the game plan. No longer does anyone call his move from quarterback an experiment. He's getting less time at quarterback because of his superb work in the slot position.
"He's been real good," Petrino said. "He definitely brings a toughness to the position. He makes our outside run better. He can hold the point on the edge. It's like another tight end. Those plays outside are what Knile does really well."
Petrino said the Hogs have plenty of big bodies on the edge with Cobi Hamilton and Chris Gragg. The matchup problems are almost endless. Even Wingo is getting in the action as a split receiver or H-back.
"It makes it hard (on the defense) in our down-the-field passing. When there is contact with a little defensive back, sometimes they fall down."
Petrino was asked about formation possibilities with Davis, Wingo and Mitchell, along with running back Dennis Johnson. Could they all be on the field together?
Asked specifically about Wingo and Mitchell in special packages, he said, "Those are two of our better players."
Petrino praised redshirt freshman Brandon Allen. He said with Mitchell at wideout, Allen has been getting more snaps and is improving. There had been no questions about All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson until the end of the interview session.
"Tyler is not here any more, I guess," Petrino quipped. "He actually missed a couple of throws today. It's about the first he's missed since spring. Sometimes you think he's hit about 500 in a row. He's having a good camp. I bet when we go back and look at today he was about 25 of 28 or something like that."