Spring Practice: Day Four Thoughts

It was a hard practice on Monday but the weather was cool and breezy, so the team was able to go a little harder for a little longer. There was lots of contact on the day and no new injuries seemed to happen on Monday, but we learned of some new ones from last week while we were watching practice. The defense seemed to hold it's own on Monday, but there were some offensive highlights as well.

When they started getting into it, the team conducted a nice little short yardage segment near the goal line. The drill went for 11 plays and defense went 6-5 I believe. The defense started strong winning the first four snaps, while the offense finished strong. Offensive highlights included sophomore running back Mike Gillislee scoring twice...once inside and one on the outside. Junior quarterback John Brantley scored on a naked bootleg to the right. Freshman quarterback Trey Burton broke two possible sacks one play and scrambled right for a touchdown. Senior running back Emmanuel Moody scored around the left side after falling just short on the first play if scrimmage.

On defense, the charge was led by sophomore SAM linebacker Dee Finley and freshman WILL linebacker Jelani Jenkins who both had two solo tackles each stuffing the backs from getting in the end zone.

Once the teams opened up and got away from the end zone, Moody looked really natural running with a little more space around him. Moody pounded three long runs of 20 yards or more off of the left side of the line Gillislee also had one nice long run in the drill. After that, most of the series of about 20 plays was won by a swarming defense that didn't give up much.

When the passing game was worked on fro the middle of the field, the defense dominated yet again. The quarterbacks were really limited to only very short completions or not at all. The biggest breakdown on the defense came from a scramble by Trey Burton who eluded a hard charging Earl Okine. Okine seemed to have Burton but the crafty freshman got down field untouched. Line coach Dan McCarney was none too happy with Okine and let him have it for a minute or two following the play. McCarney was overheard yelling "It's been three years and you still can't make a play!!"

The offense did a little bit in the two-minute drill, but there were plenty of bad passes and drops involved too. The three best plays from the passing game all day came in the two-minute drill and with the two freshmen tight ends that were available for practice. Jordan Reed hauled in one pass on a corner route about 20 yards and Gerald Christian did the same thing twice. They were nice plays and the two guys were open all three plays.

The offense was really sloppy Monday. Lots of dropped balls and passes behind the receivers. The defense had a little bit to do with it too, but except for a Brandon Hicks interception return for a touchdown, I am not sure the defense touched the ball all day either.

Players of the day included...

RB – Emmanuel Moody, Mike Gillislee
TE – Jordan Reed, Gerald Christian
LB – Jelani Jenkins, Brandon Hicks, Dee Finley

The injuries are stacking up. The following players missed practice for various injuries...

WR Chris Rainey (hamstring), WR Andre Debose, TE Desmond Parks (torn wrist ligaments, surgery coming), OL Matt Patchan (knee), OL Carl Johnson (shoulder), OL Sam Robey , OL Kyle Koehne (shoulder, out 3-6 weeks), DT Brandon Antwine, DT Lawrence Marsh, DT Terron Sanders, DE Kedric Johnson (ankle), S Josh Evans.

With Robey and Koehne out, sophomore lineman Nick Alajajian got some work at center on Monday. Michael Pouncey also got work at right tackle on the first team line when Marcus Gilbert left early for class. That was the only positional fluctuation noticed today outside of a couple of plays again when Brendan Beal and Jon Bostic, both middle linebackers, both lined up on the field at the same time. In that particular line up, Bostic was at the WILL backer spot.

The middle linebacker rotated again and Lorenzo Edwards started on the day. Linebacker coach D.J. Durkin is looking for a little more fire from Edwards...that seems to be what he is missing right now as he has all the other intangibles to be a very good player at the position.

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