For those that attended Thursday's practice, they were treated with the most energetic and competitive session of the spring period. Players on both sides of the ball were flying around, either making their blocks, hitting the holes or making deflections and gang tackling.
DT Brian Devine
Another positional change has occurred. This time senior Brian Devine has made the move from the offensive line over to defensive tackle. He worked frequently with the second unit this afternoon. Following practice, Brian told me that he is excited about the move and was willing to do anything to help the team win.
"Our House" is what Defensive Coordinator Mike Gillhamer calls the red zone. As he patrolled the defensive alignments from behind, he kept yelling out to the players, "this is our house and you should be [upset] that the offense is in it." The defensive unit seemed to take him up on it and made a number of impressive stops. One of the more impressive stops was made by redshirt freshman linebacker James Jackson. With the offense lined up on the 1-yard line, the handoff went to running back Reggie Bradshaw who attempted to leap over the pile, but Jackson met him at the goal line and pushed him back for the hold.
In a way that seemingly matches his style of all out, flying around the field, type play, sophomore Brandon Johnson talks it up before, during and after most plays. He made sure any offensive player near him was aware of any sack, pass deflection or hard hit that happened. Brandon plays with high intensity on every snap, something that both the coaches and fans will soon come to enjoy.
I may be speaking too soon, but Eric Shelton may have seperated himself from the pack today. Shelton's performance on Thursday was by far the best complete effort by a back so far this spring.
J.R. Russell has just about wrapped up one of the starting wide out spots with his continued impressive play. When I asked Head Coach Bobby Petrino about the depth at receiver, he was quick to single out Russell.
"I really like the way J.R. Russell has been playing and we really can't get him the ball enough right now, because he makes a lot of plays," responded Petrino.
The quarterback position remains neck and neck. Stefan LeFors and Justin Rascati both had an average day at best on Thursday. Rascati, while no way near as quick as LeFors, has started to show signs of having the ability to run the ball when needed. The race will obviously continue and become quite crowded when true freshmen Michael Bush, Eddie Miller and Preston Smith begin working out with the team late summer.
Senior defensive back J.T. Haskins punished a number of receivers on Thursday. It didn't matter if he was making an assist, fighting through a block or making a solo stop, Haskins was attacking with full force. After taking a few extra seconds getting himself up of the field, Joshua Tinch would have agreed.