Just one more practice before the Tigers put on full pads Wednesday. Here are some quick thoughts and notes from what I heard out there this evening:
1. Jordan Leggett confirmed to me what had discussed in a What We are Hearing last month: last year the coaches only put him in the game to throw the fade route. The challenged him in the spring not only to add weight but to also be much more physical. Thus far, it sounds like he has responded. He confirmed he's up to 251 pounds and he definitely looks it. "The coaches really told me to be more physical," he said. "I'm taking more pride in that now." He also conceded Sam Cooper is the best blocking tight end on the team, which I found interesting.
Also, I still think he could catch 40-plus passes this year if he can stay healthy. The light looks like it's come on with him and as we've stated before in this space, there isn't a linebacker in the country that cover this guy down the field.
2. Cordrea Tankersley said he treats every practice like a game when I asked if he would be nervous or anxious making his first start on the road at Georgia. "That's the only way I know how to combat that," he said. "I treat every practice like I'm going into Georgia to start." He also said he was fine playing mainly special teams a year ago due to upperclassmen Bashaud Breeland and Darius Robinson "balling out." You can tell he's made significant improvement since last season, not only because he's currently listed as a starter, but just in how he acts and how other defenders are now talking him. Both him and Leggett are pretty good interviews.
3. More on LB Kellen Jones from Brent Venables: "I thought he's done well," he said. "I've got him in a green jersey so he's not full speed. But he's done good. His change of direction has been good. There hasn't been any swelling and we have a little bit of depth there so we haven't had to put him out there. The things we've asked him to do- he's handled well."
Like all the players who had knee injuries from last year, they are bringing these guys along slowly. For what it's worth, Travis Blanks appears to be ahead of the curve in his recovery time.
4. Senior DT DeShawn Williams said he's lost four pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle since last season. D-tackles coach Dan Brooks wanted his interior linemen to slim down entering this season. "Coach Brooks told us midway through to season to get fat. So we started eating good on the road. But he wants us to get back to our normal quicker selves. We were all 300 pounds, but now he wants us in that 290-295 pound range to get that quickness back."
5. I did see Tyshon Dye leave today in a yellow jersey. Upgraded from green late last week. He's nowhere close after watching him closely Friday, but that can't be a bad thing can it? Stay tuned there.
FINAL THOUGHTS: We continue to hear good things about DeShaun Watson and Mackensie Alexander behind the scenes, even though neither player will be made available to the media anytime soon. ... Venables seems much more relaxed when discussing his unit this year, which makes me think he likes the hand he's been dealt. I mean, he should, but you guys know how these coaches are when talking to us- very cautious. It just be because they aren't in full pads yet, but it's worth nothing none the less.
Fast Five from Monday's Practice
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