Practice Report 8-14-02

The third day of two-a-days is usually a sluggish one, where players start to hit that initial wall from day after day of two practices. Although some players showed some wear, most were in high spirits, and the general air around Nutter Training facilitiy was light.

Today was a great day for Derrick Tatum.  For a man who can talk more than your mom at a family gathering, he is showing signs of being able to back up all that jabbering.  In one on ones with Derek Abney, twice was he able to make a break on the ball and not even give Derek a chance to get his hands on the ball, which may be the only way to keep him from catching it.  Derrick looks like an SEC quality cornerback, if he keeps his head in the game.  Twice in individual drills he lost his concentration and missed the assignment, which could be detrimental in a game.  But, it was the 3rd day of two-a-days, and guys are still just getting back into the groove of things after a long summer.

Yes, Antonio did get hurt today, but it did not look to be too serious at the point of impact.  He turned over on the ankle a tad, and looked mighty angry that he had hurt himself again, but initial reports stated that no tearing of tendons had occurred, so he should be practicing again soon.  We should hear a more solid word on his status tomorrow.

Also, Warren Wilson is undergoing his MRI as I type this report, but through just hand inspections there only seemed to be damage to the MCL, and minor at that.  What this means is that he could be back in pads and playing full speed by the Louisville game.

Another player that seemed to excell in the team exercises was Sylvester Miller.  After the injury to Antonio, the first question everyone asked was "who now?"  The "Big Cat" came in and gave a solid series with no sacks, and sold a screen very well.  If Sylvester could get some confidence, maybe he could possibly live up to that all world status he carried with him when he walked on campus a few years ago.

The walk-on Demarcus Woods also looked better than he ever has catching the football.  He made some spectacular moves, and showed that graceful stride that makes him look faster than he probably is.  He still needs to work on his willingness to catch the football over the middle, but he is still just a freshman, and he is just a walk-on.  With his hands and physical skills, he could see some playing time with our 3 or 4 wide sets.

Speaking of our wide recievers, going with a two wide set, the first team includes Tommy Cook and Derek Abney, who are both playing fantastically at the moment.  In the two spots are Chris Bernard, and Aaron Boone.  Now, I noticed today that Jared was getting a little short with Chris because he does not quite understand every play yet.  He ran the incorrect route twice, and the roll of the eyes from Jared was a definate sign that it was not the first time.  I believe the only thing keeping him on the 2 deep chart is his extreme athleticism and ability to go get the football.  Once he understands the system, he could become real dangerous real quick.

At the linebacker position, Ronnie Riley and Mo Lane have only solidified their first team status.  They work well together, and their ability to communicate on the field has almost become uncanny.  Behind them is Dustin Williams and Justin Haydock, but Kaamal Ahmed has been seeing some major time with the second team in place of Dustin.  Is this a tool to motivate Dustin?  Or is he really in trouble of losing his job?  According to Ronnie Riley, Dustin is the man, and will only get better.  We will see.  Chad is still with the third team, but Justin had better watch himself or things could change very quickly. 

DE's is still a position that worries me.  Looking at their practice, they have a great coach in Nelson, but behind Otis and Sweet Pea, it gets real thin real quick.  Fontaine is second team DE, but he looks like he weighs 200 lbs at 6'5".  He is very quick and athletic, but how much does quick and athletic help when a m an who benches 500 lbs grabs onto his pads.  Deion Holts can hold his own, he has really bulked up his upper body, but until those tree trunks get bigger he won't live up to the potential he has.  Kareem Reid is a redshirt away from contributing, at least as of his 3rd practice with the team.

Tomorrow I am really going to look at the progression of the O-Line.  With the injury to Antonio Hall, things get extremely tight there.  Is there enough depth to even compete with the SEC D-Lines?  Hard to say.  But, if the first team D-Line going against the second team O-Line is any indication, Jared had better learn to throw QUICKLY.  UK will have to go LSU style, slant slant slant.

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