It got started with a drill where the running backs pick up blitzing linebackers. Maalik Bomar slammed into Isaiah Pead during the drill with Pead for the most part holding his own. Afterward, the two exchanged some words and some shoves.
While no real altercation broke out, one of the most physical, and entertaining, pairs to watch in the receiver vs. defensive back one-on-one drill is the Vidal Hazelton/ Reuben Johnson matchup. As chronicled in yesterday's practice report, the two have had some good battles thus far and Thursday was certainly no exception.
Midway through the drill Hazelton got behind Johnson on a little stop-and-go route, then went over the top of Johnson for the leaping touchdown catch. Following the play the two resumed their trash talking. As they talked Hazelton look to the reporters and told us to write down that "No. 5 can't cover me." To which Johnson replied "watch the whole practice."
True to his word, the next time they were matched up Johnson stayed step for step with Hazelton and knocked the pass away. However, Kerry Coombs had him do pushups again for failing to make the interception.
In an 11-on-11 non-tackling drill, John Goebel was laid out by Adrian Witty after catching a swing pass. This hit not only ignited pushing between the two players but also some yelling between Coombs and running backs coach Mark Elder.
After practice, Elder said it was no big deal, it was just two competitors going at it.
Towards the end of the practice, D.J. Woods got a block on J.K. Shaffer that Shaffer didn't take kindly to. This altercation nearly started a full team shoving match as several players on both offense and defense joined in.
Head coach Butch Jones didn't seem too concerned about the incidents, chalking it up to competitiveness.
"They've been hitting each other for nine practices, 10 now, and obviously the heat (was a factor). But I think we came out and competed today," Jones said.
In actual football, Darrin Williams probably had the best day at practice Thursday, twice breaking off big gains. One a 55-yard touchdown run up the middle where he made one cut and was gone, the second coming off a screen pass in which Dan Sprague got a nice kick out block on Dorian Davis.
Williams also had a nice showing in the blitz pickup drill.
Yesterday I gave you the first team offensive line as it stands now. Today the second team consisted of Andre Cuerton at right tackle, Dan Sprague at right guard, Mitch Kessel at left guard and Sean Hooey at left tackle.
Late in the day Isaiah Pead was slow to get up after being stopped in the backfield on a play and did not participate the rest of practice. Also, John Goebel came limping off the field towards the end of the day with a left foot injury. Elder said that neither injury is serious, likely just dings.