"Seems like it had been a long time since we'd been out there," McGee said. "We had good energy."
The Hogs scrimmaged Thursday, took Friday off then practiced Saturday. They had met over the weekend. Monday was an off day because of the first day of classes.
Wide receiver Greg Childs was not at practice, but McGee indicated the junior from Warren was "fine."
"Definitely, there were good things on both sides," McGee said. "Both groups have small details that need to be cleaned up. We need to keep working on some of our finer techniques. You could see that on the video.
"We have enough talent to cover up some of our mistakes, but we need all the details of the technique to be correct. That's what we are working on."
McGee has taken over the coaching duties of the punt return specialist. It appears the staff is close to picking Joe Adams as the return man.
"I'd say Joe is right now," McGee said. "Then it's Jarius Wright. We are still working Cobi Hamilton and Eric Bennett there, too. But it's probably going to be Joe."
Adams said he wanted the job "badly." He said he's worked hard at catching punts.
"I've done it before and I think it's something that stays with you," Adams said. "I haven't forgotten how to do it. It's a fun job. I want that role. I know I still have competition, but I think it's a role that is somewhat like playing wide receiver and going over the middle.
"I like that part. I think it's something that I can do. I've asked to do it, but so have some other guys. We know it's an important area to help our team become better."
McGee said he asked to coach that area.
"I've done that before in my coaching career, always been involved in that area," McGee said. "I wanted everyone on the team to know that we consider that to be an offensive position and I'm the offensive coordinator. We want them to know that's a position we expect to be a playmaker for our offense. That's the message I wanted to send."
The message was clear in Tuesday's practice in another area. The Hogs must run the ball effectively to win in the SEC. The practice started with an inside run period.
"You have to be able to run it," McGee said. "You have to come out and run it early, establish the run. And you have to be able to run it late. If you can run it early, it makes our play-action pass come to life."
McGee said that's the way practices will be on Tuesdays throughout the season. He said the inside run would be featured every Tuesday. This week they'll try to do a lot of things like a regular game week, capping off with a mock game on Friday night. It will be preceded by what the coaches call "perfect Thursday."
The staff has emphasized an improved toughness since last season. McGee said he's starting to see it on the field.
"We wanted to test our toughness," he said. "I don't think you really know until you get in a game and are in front of a crowd, but it's starting to show up. I see it in our leadership. What you want to see is if you will do what you are coached to do when you are tired and fatigued. I can see signs."
McGee, the quarterback coach, praised junior Ryan Mallett.
"He's really studied," McGee said. "Football is important to him. He really wants it bad. He's the first one in the meeting. He's prepared in our meetings. He's asking questions as soon as we get started. He is grinding. It is really important to him."
McGee said there is still a fight at running back to see who becomes the leader. He said at this time last year, there was a clear leader, Michael Smith.
"I think that's still a battle to see who is going to be that guy," McGee said. "They are still trying to grow into it."
Practices are closed after the first 20 minutes, but there appeared to be some movement on the depth chart on the defense. Andru Stewart worked at safety in the early periods with the twos. Freshman Eric Bennett worked with the twos at boundary corner. Rudell Crim continued to work ahead of Elton Ford at strong safety. There were three defensive ends -- Jake Bequette, Damario Ambrose and Tenarius Wright -- on the field in some looks. Anthony Leon continues to work with the ones at outside linebacker in some coverage packages. In other looks Jerry Franklin and Freddy Burton worked with the ones.
McGee said the staff has not picked scout teams yet, trying to squeeze a few more practices out of the young players with their position coaches. He said there were some periods in the day when the offense and defense "exchanged threes" instead of going to scout units.