"No time for that," Conrad Obi said after Thursday's morning practice. "It's football time."
Obi is relatively new to football. He played as a junior at Grayson High, then played four games as a senior before sitting out the rest of the season with a finger injury. He's trying to make up for lost time in the first week of camp at college, and said he enjoys being on the practice field, even if it means learning a few hard lessons every day.
"I'm lovin' it," Obi said. "I've learned a lot. You've definitely got to get your butt kicked, basically, to learn stuff. And that's been happening, so I'm happy.
"There's so much more to it than high school. In high school you just line up and go. Here there's technique."
Obi is one of several true freshmen who has an opportunity to play this season. Once the team begins its full-squad practices Friday, Obi will be thrown in with senior Alonzo Barrett, junior Maurice Lucas and redshirt-freshmen Marquez Herrod and Eric Lawson in the defensive end pool.
One of the players Obi went up against in two different individual competitions periods Thursday morning was fellow true freshmen Ryan Miller. Miller was playing offensive tackle vs. Obi on the edge on several occasions. While Miller got the best of Obi the first three times the whistle blew, Obi circled around Miller and tagged the quarterback once, then beat him to the inside another time.
Going up against Miller is something Obi said he looks forward to over the next several years.
"Ryan is a great player," he said. "We keep teaching other. It's going to be a good fit for four years because we just keep teaching each other."
Thursday Morning Practice Notes
• Part of the team went through the morning workout on Thursday, and the rest will work in the afternoon slot before the entire team convenes Friday afternoon for their first full-group session. The team is in shells Thursday, and will be in full gear Friday, prepping for Sunday morning's first scrimmage.
• Senior Edwin Harrison and Miller practiced in the morning Thursday. While Harrison had been practicing mostly at tackle the first few days, he was practicing at guard Thursday morning, while Miller was at tackle. The duo manned the right side of the line at those positions during a mid-practice 11-on-11 scrum. OL coach Jeff Grimes continues to cross train the offensive linemen.
• The three new wide receivers continue to look impressive, albeit playing against mostly young defensive backs, and without full pads. Of the three, Josh Smith seems to have generated the most buzz among the onlookers at the daily practices. Kendrick Celestine, though, appears to be the fastest in straight-ahead speed.
• Junior linebacker Marcus Burton participated in Thursday morning's practice. Coach Brian Cabral ran him through some extra conditioning afterward before Burton sprinted off the field behind most of his teammates.
Burton is in jeopardy of being academically ineligible, Cabral had said earlier in the week.
Stopped for a moment, Burton said he took his final exam in his summer class, a sociology class, and will now await the grade to be posted, most likely early next week. Burton said he felt like he did well on the final, and in the class. Stay tuned.