It took one pass route in the UA's first varsity practice for the year for off-injured tight end J. Strain to come up lame once again.
Luckily this time it is just a sprained ankle and he did return to practice for a few more skeleton drills, but did so gimpy. Doesn't look serious, but it took the wind out of head coach Houston Nutt as you might could imagine.
"That is just unbelievable," Nutt said. "I hope it is nothing serious. I can't believe we go all through spring and it gets hurt on the very first play. It was just formations, running off the ball with no contact really."
Safety Jimmar Gallon hurt his hamstring late in practice and had to ice up with the extent of the injury to be determined.
Other notable moments in the initial full squad practice - in shoulder pads and shorts - of the preseason included:
• Two-a-days consisted of one classroom session this morning and a workout this afternoon. Friday is the last day of summer school finals and Saturday the first real two-a-day.
"We did some good this morning with that meeting and I think it sends a serious message that we do take school seriously," Nutt said. "I don't think there would be too many Division I coaches that would practice but once a day right now because you feel the anxiety of getting everybody on the field because you are 21 days away.
• Absolutely no sun, cloud cover throughout making for a pleasant day for the players, media and the horde of fans on hand.
"We had a good first day and were fortunate to have cloud cover," Nutt said. "There was a lot of enthusiasm and that is the way it should be. The guys bounced around for the most part. They got a little sluggish there at the end."
• George Wilson the brightest spot among the receivers.
• Linebacker Caleb Miller really standing out among his group.
• Cornerback Lawrence Richardson throwing wideout Richard Smith around after a catch, making his position coach respond with some quotes about being soft and how he needed to compete.
But Smith responded later by going up in traffic and hauling in a tough catch between three defenders - and smiling at said position coach on his back.
• Jimmy Beasely and Miller both welcoming the youngsters with some big hits after the play was already down field. Just a reminder to keep your head up at all times in college football.
• The defense dominating a mini-scrimmage, spurred on by a strong defensive secondary corp.
Lawrence Richardson and Harold Harris ran first-team at corners while Eddie Jackson and Ken Hamlin manned the safety spots.
"(Eddie) looked good for the first day there," Nutt said. "I am real proud of him. He is going to be able to do both."
That put Batman and Marvin Jackson with the second unit along with Tom Crowder and Corey G. Harris while Kevin Baker and Bo Mosely worked third-team corners and Shelton Parker and D'Andre Berry worked at safety.
"The defense chased the ball extremely well and I was just pleased overall," Nutt said. "The numbers are there with Marvin Jackson, Eddie Jackson, Harold Harris, Kevin Baker and you throw in Lawrence Richardson, you got some numbers and it raises everybody's level.
• Nutt praised starting quarterback Zak Clark for his day, but thought Ryan Sorahan, Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Jones showed their inexperience.
"I thought Zak was real smart and threw it on time,," Nutt said, " but the younger three are going to struggle for a few days because they are throwing two or three converages a day at them."
Robby Hampton didn't do much at all on a day when the other four got reps in a skeleton deep pass drill before the mini-scrimmage.
"We just wanted to slow it down and make sure everybody got reps," Nutt said. "When your dealing with that many quarterbacks, you want to let them have the feel for reading the secondary. You have some numbers and receivers and backs (in that drill) and you are just trying to get everybody acclimated - how it sounds in the huddle when things are moving fast."
• Freshman wideout Michael Robinson getting to practice after having to sit out the first couple of days.
• Running back Fred Talley looking good and moving well, but the coaches easing him into things coming off his knee injury.
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