The First Look at the New Tigers (8/6/01 Morning)

It was almost a full house today. Almost. Still no word on Eric Coleman, although the latest news is that he should report tomorrow morning. Michaeux Hollingsworth was still MIA, and 3 others were out of action because they were taking a final for their second summer courses. Charlie Whitehurst, Mark Jetton, and Bobby Williamson arrived at the very end of practice in street clothes after finishing their finals. They should all be present for the 4:45 pm practice.

Below are listed some random observations on the morning practice:

The biggest surprise today was clearly the play of Jamaal Fudge at cornerback. There was one back pedal drill that the new defensive backs performed, and Fudge definitely stood out. His footwork was excellent, as was his body control. He kept his hips freakishly square while practicing his cover skills. He's easily the top cornerback to step into a back-up role in the secondary, and he could be the most likely new guy to contribute on defense this year. Again, Fudge looked exceptional out there.

The next area of interest for us – the D-Line. Trey Tate and Moe Fountain, both of whom were monsters, worked out with Thielen Smith, whereas Charles Bennett, Rod Whipple, and Eric Sampson practiced under the watch of Rodney Allison. Moe Fountain's physical presence really stood out, as he seems like he has the body to contribute right away. Charles Bennett and Rod Whipple looked good in drills, although from a size perspective, they both appeared to be a little undersized to play this year. The good news, however, is they both have tremendous frames to play at the bookends. They're both very tall (around 6'5" both), with long arms and an overall broad frame, not to mention the fact that they were both very athletic.

At wide receiver, Airese Currie is much more muscular than either of us expected. We both knew he was fast and athletic, but we didn't know that he would strike us as a football player first and not a track guy. Then there's Roscoe…….the rumors are all true that he has all the physical tools – size, speed, body control, hands. However, what struck us as unusual was his demeanor. He's very unassuming, almost shy, even though he has all the talent a freshman receiver could possess, not to mention the fact that he's a millionaire. All this talk about Roscoe, though, shouldn't overshadow just how impressive Currie was. Even though this is the first practice, it's still worth noting that neither one of them dropped a pass all day, even when Stockstill threw it behind them. Plus, their route-running definitely caught our attention, as both seemed to be as crisp in their cutting abilities as a wideout could be. Crisp!

Overall, there weren't many passing drills this morning, most likely because Whitehurst was not present. A lot of work was done with the kick/punt returning, as Roscoe, Airese, Tavaughn Monts, Tye Hill, Kyle Browning, Jamaal Fudge, and Curtis Baham all got their chance to field kicks.

Worth noting is that Tye Hill is much, much bigger than either of us expected him to be. He doesn't look like a scatback, but more of a feature tailback. He appeared to be every bit of 6', and he looked to have plenty of meat on his bones. At the collegiate level, Hill could either be a stand-up tailback or cornerback. This is an athlete with blinding speed and a great frame.

Ben Hall was clearly the most physically imposing newcomer. He's every bit of 6'5," probably closer to 6'6." When all the newcomers gathered in the huddle, it was clear that Hall is the tallest new guy on the team. Plus, just wait until you see the pictures – Hall is a horse. As we already said, he's the most physically imposing newcomer to the Tiger Roster. Another very interesting point to make is that Hall is the epitome of a gentle giant off the field. He seemed very humble and affable off the field, not at all brash and flashy. Hall has a disposition very similar to Crosby, from our outside perspective.

In the post-practice interview w/ the media when Hall was asked what his strengths and weaknesses were, he seemed pretty confident in his pass-catching and route-running abilities, although he admitted his primary focus this fall would be on improving his blocking. We can't help but think if he improves his blocking just a little bit, he'd be darn tough to keep out of the starting lineup at tight end.

As for the linebackers, running backs, and offensive linemen, we didn't get to see a whole lot here. We hope to do little more double-secret street agent scouting in the afternoon sessions to compensate for our neglect of national security in this regard.

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