Jim McElwain’s rule to play in the next game during the week is that you have to practice on Wednesday. We are reasonably sure that will happen for Antonio Callaway and his quad injury as the team gets ready to report to the practice field this afternoon. What we don’t know is how effective the SEC’s leading receiver will be or if his status is one that will warrant holding him out for some or the entire contest Saturday.
"You know what, he tried,” McElwain said of Callaway about Tuesday’s practice during his weekly SEC Teleconference call Wednesday. “He went through most of it. It's an interesting thing that the more you run and get it kind of heated up, the looser it becomes, but he definitely wasn't himself. And yet a lot of times on Tuesdays, still, that's the case. I'll be excited to see how he looks today, especially if it goes all the way through practice because you could see he could run a little bit better as he worked through it."
Callaway or not, the head coach is excited to line up against North Texas for week three of the season. He wants to be consistent in all phases of te game and that means this week the special teams have to take a step forward.
"You know, I'd like to see consistency in performance moving forward,” McElwain said. “We have to have an uptick of production in the special teams’ area. We had four penalties last week just in special teams, which tells me that our attention to the detail is not good throughout the week. So that's really what I'm looking for this week."
McElwain also wants to see the continued progression of his quarterback. Sophomore Luke Del Rio has played pretty well so far this season, but he believes he can and will play better. The young man is second in the SEC in touchdown passes thrown and fourth in terms of passing yards so far in this young season.
“You know what, he played OK and pretty decent in that first game,” McElwain said of his signal caller.” I think he took some really good steps this week. Here's the thing and I've told you this before about Luke, his approach as to how he goes about trying to perfect his craft -- we never perfect our craft, I don't care who you are -- but he's got a real sense of how to go about the daily install piece, the daily study piece, the daily fundamental piece and I think that has to do with his background a little bit. And that's been fun to see, but here's what's even better about that. Because of that, there (are) even guys around him at other positions that are kind of starting to say 'Oh, I see now kind of how you should go about it.' Really it becomes that consistency where in Luke's case, not getting too up, not getting too down and not trying to do too much but rather try to let the game come to you."
The return of Tabor and Lewis…
Junior cornerback Jalen Tabor and redshirt sophomore tight end Cyontai Lewis were both involved in a altercation with each other in the preseason that led them to be suspended for the opening game. Their absence was noticed and their return maybe even more so. Both guys are a big part of what this team wants to do this season.
"Well I think the biggest impact in Jalen's case is that he's a really good player and you know what, he loves to play,” McElwain said. “He studies the game. That has an impact on everybody and offensively, it really has as much to do with C'yontai Lewis and what he brings from an energy standpoint as well. When you look at how both guys graded out, man, it was really impressive, and you can tell how important it is to them and that's something that's great to have in that locker room."
Tabor has the ability to get other people around him motivated by the way he carries himself. That, says McElwain, is something several of his teammates have as well.
"He's like a lot of our guys,” McElwain said of Tabor’s swagger. “They just love to compete. The way I kind of put it is these guys loved recess in grade school because it was an opportunity to go play and go compete. That's what I love about practice here is the players just enjoy it and he's no different than a lot of guys."null