The defense dominated the action as was the case in the full scrimmages the previous two Saturdays, but at least two players were hurt and are questionable for Saturday's A-Day Game.
Quarterback Barrett Trotter and the other quarterbacks were "live" for full contact in a session that offensive and defensive players said was a physical scrimmage. Trotter got knocked out of the action with a big hit as did fellow QB Neil Caudle.
Barrett Trotter is a redshirt freshman for the Tigers.
Head coach Gene Chizik declined to talk about those injuries or who would be out of action for Saturday's A-Day Game that is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
"I think we got a lot of things done," Chizik said. "I thought again, it was a productive day. We did good things on both sides of the ball. For practice 13, I thought the energy was up.
"They were flying around and playing hard today. It went back and forth. Everybody did some good things, everybody did some things that weren't so good, but I think at the end of the day it was very productive."
According to players and other coaches, the session was more productive for the defense. Running backs coach Curtis Luper said he was impressed with the defense and secondary coaches Phillip Lolley and Tommy Thigpen both said they liked the intensity the defense brought to the action on Thursday evening.
Thigpen said that injuries suffered by Slade and McNeil are "part of the game" and with Zac Etheridge not cleared for contact while he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery the Tigers will have at least two scholarship safeties ready plus a couple of walk-ons for A-Day. That group includes Christian Thompson and Drew Cole plus walk-ons Brandon Evans and Matthew Sample. Sample, a 6-2, 190 freshman from Jemison, had a big hit in Thursday's evening's half-scrimmage.
If needed, Marcus Jemison, who started the spring at safety, could play there if needed on Saturday. However, Chizik said that the redshirt freshman has done a good job since making the switch to linebacker.
Elswhere in the secondary the Tigers have stayed healthy. Neiko Thorpe and Walt McFadden are running first team and are backed up D'Antoine Hood and T'Sharvan Bell. Another corner, Aaron Savage, won't be allowed to have full contact until August after being hurt last year.
Although the defense won the first scrimmage by a close margin in Chizik's scoring system and by much larger margins in scrimmage two and the half scrimmage on Thursday night, the head coach said he has no idea of which side will win on Saturday. "Our guys are fired up about it and they are excited about playing in front of our crowd," he said. "I encourage everybody to come out. It will be a fun day, an exciting day."
Commenting on his plans for A-Day, Chizik said, "We have got to get something done on Saturday. We will scrimmage and do some special teams. We have got to get something out of it having a practice. It will be base offense and base defense. We will run some and throw it some and it won't be a lot of blitzing and things of that nature. It will be a good look at the base of all sides and all special teams."
News and Notes: Saturday's A-Day Game will be played with four quarters that last 12 minutes apiece instead of the normal 15 minutes for college games. The game will match the offense vs. defense with a non-traditional scoring system. The offense can get points the following ways--six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, two points for a play of 15-yards or longer, two points for three consecutive first downs, two points for a two-point conversion after TD and one point for a PAT kick. The defense can score points in the following ways--seven points for a touchdown, five points for an interception or fumble recovery, four points for a quarterback sack, three points for a blocked field goal, two points for a three and out, two points for a tackle for a loss and one point for a blocked PAT kick...Tickets to the game are $5, but admission is free to students...The game will be telecast live on CSS with re-broadcasts on Sunday, April 19th at 6 p.m. CST and April 21st at 6 p.m...A punt, pass and kick contest is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. for kids from ages 8-13 at the practice fields at the football complex. Registration starts at 9 a.m. The first 500 to register will receive a T-shirt and there will be prizes for the top performers...The players and coaches will be available for a postgame autograph session at Jordan-Hare Stadium following the A-Day Game.
Running back Eric Smith, who has been slowed by an injury this spring, is not scheduled to play on A-Day...Onterrio McCalebb, who had two long runs on Thursday night, was one of the bright spots for the offense in the scrimmage...Sophomore Neiko Thorpe continues to have a strong spring at cornerback and is running number one along with Walt McFadden...Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said the Thursday practice was very physical. He had praise for the play of receivers Harry Adams and Derek Winter, a pair of true sophomores. Winter caught a touchdown pass and Adams caught a post pattern and had a strong blocker, Taylor said.