FOOTBALL: 8/10 Fall Practice Report - Group A

<img src= align=right>Here's our look at Group A (see report on Group B below) for an in-depth look at today's practice... The punt returners today were Vernell Brown and Tremaine McCullom. For a short time Reynaldo Hill joined in on the action. Nick Fleming seemed to be kicking better than Eric Wilbur until Wilbur warmed up. Once he was good and warm Wilbur bombed a few deep. Pictured: The defense during drills.

As I mentioned in the first report, the special teams concentrated on punt coverage. They worked on getting to their assigned lanes and getting their as fast as they can. They also alternated a bunch pf players no doubt to see who was going to be the best at doing their jobs. Dane Guthrie seemed to be working with the first group out there, I think this is a sign of things to come and I'll have more on this a little further down.


Jeremy Mincey is getting double the reps for the A-Group because of lack of defensive ends. He is man-child conditioning wise, so that shouldn't be a problem. He needs all the reps he can get for the mental aspects.

1 on 1

Hill had great coverage on a Jemalle Cornelius post pattern before he fell down. Jemalle put the jets on and ran under the ball for what would have been a long touchdown. Hill came back the next go around and broke the next pass up.

Tony Joiner broke up a pass and had a couple of nice plays where he blanketed the receiver. He is one guy that will play this year as a true freshman.

Leak wasn't as sharp today as yesterday. He was throwing behind and low on the short passes.


DeShawn Wynn was the first running back out in pass-skel drills. Of course he and Ciatrick Fason are both still with the A-Group.

Tony Joiner was starting free safety when the first team defense went to a nickel for the first play. Now it is to be understood that the 2nd tream guys are in Group-B but it was interesting to se anyway..

Chris Leak had the play of the day when he completed a beautiful 45 yards in the air post pass to Jemalle Cornelius as he was blanketed by Reynaldo Hill and he made the catch anyway. I don't think you could ask for much more from any of the three involved. A few plays later Leak threaded a pass to Markell Thompson streaking down the left seam and unfortunately he was covered tight and ended up dropping the perfect pass. It wasn't a typical rainbow pass from Leak it was more like a soft liner. Leak continuing with his earlier troubles today, threw a little behind Andre Caldwell, still the pass hit both hands and should have been caught.

Dee Webb made a great jump on a sideline pass o Caldwell from Leak and got there in time to knock the ball away entirely. Dee has been solid but not spectacular out there. I haven't seen that jump on the ball where he gets such a good read that he intercepts and can take it to the house. Nonetheless, he has been steady.

Tremaine McCullom made an excellent jump on a Cornelius Ingram sideline pass to Mike McIntosh. The lesss heralded twin almost came away with the pass that was thrown a little late.


They are definitely working a lot more on play action and bootleg passes that I can see from the far side. Chris has gotten so much better at the play action since he has been here. You can definitely see it being a bigger staple in the offensive system this year. As soon as I say it he throws a low ball to an inside receiver for an incompletion. . Then the next time, the linebackers are frozen on the play fake, but the receivers were covered quickly. It is a true sign of or team speed on defense.

Again not much to report from team drills being so far away from everyone. I hope to have more on them tomorrow.


OJ Small has the uncanny ability to reach out and grab a dart. Many don't understand why he is on the field when the other receivers are all faster, but that is one reason. The other is because the staff says that OJ plays faster than anyone else. It is one thing to run the 40 yard dash. It is another to combine take off from the line, knowing your route, and then knowing what to do when the ball gets there. These are the things that OJ Small does better than any other receiver.

Mike McIntosh continues to impress these eyes. He really is very smooth and makes great adjustments on the ball. He catches the ball without hesitation and for a first semester player knows more or less what he is doing. He did get lambasted for not running the right distance on a particular route from Coach Fedora, but overall has been very eye opening. He made a great catch today between Dawayne Grace and Tony Joiner on a corner route that was threaded into him.

I forgot to mention about Jonathan Colon yesterday. He came off the field after the first session of practice yesterday and looked like death warmed over. The normally talkative Colon didn't want to mumble a sound afterwards and I thought he must be sick. Well, I think he is a little sick, but his exhaustion came from the fact that he ran almost every snap against competition yesterday due to the depth being split like it is and since Tavares Washington is also in the same group but still injured. He looked much better today before and after practice. As I stated the offensive line works on the far field for the whole practice, so it is difficult to get a real feel for how they are doing.

Dane Guthrie has been a really great early surprise from camp. The true freshman tight end has been a stand out in the summer workouts and I have raved about him all spring. He isn't the tallest tight end we have, but his 6-3, 260 pound body is already big enough to be a quality blocker in the SEC. Combine that with his exceptional fitness and relentless attitude, he has moved way up the depth chart. The only thing keeping this player from starting or playing a lot right now is his knowledge of the offense. Still, don't be surprised to see him in the 2-deep shortly or maybe already.

I know I keep talking about offensive highlights, but that is what you usually get from pass-skel drills. With all of the offensive highlights discussed, it really does look like we are getting good coverage from our corners. For the most part they are running step for step with the wide receivers and they are just getting beat by good throws and excellent cuts and comebacks. These are both good things. I'm not seeing Reynaldo Hill back down and Dee Webb is usually up in the receiver's face. Vernell is doing pretty well and the others have to get more snaps, but a few guys have made a play here and there. Most of the receptions are coming over the middle of the field right now and are probably due to blown reads by the linebackers and safeties. They just have to all get on the same page out there.

That's all for now, but we may find out more later, hmmm…..

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