This morning's session included the starters, immediate backups, and upperclassmen. Freshman and other younger players will practice in the afternoon session.
Let's start with a list of who practiced this morning. The list is, for the most part, in the order in which the players participated in drills.
The media was only allowed in practice for about 20 minutes, and the portion they were allowed to watch was mostly drills and technique work. There were no one on one's so it's kind of difficult to get a good feel for who was doing well, who stood out, etc. But here are a few observations from the morning practice:
- The offensive line went through drills in the order they are listed above, from right to left(Carnell Stewart was at RT, Lyle Hitt RG, etc.) Joseph Barksdale was working as the 2nd RT behind Carnell Stewart. I was surprised by how slim and fit he appeared, he looked much bigger on TV in the Army game. There have been some rumors floating around that Will Arnold was still having trouble with his knees and may not be able to play at all this year, but he appeared to be moving around fine. New offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is a very vocal and high energy guy, and he gives feedback to each guy after every play, whether it was just a simple "Good job, you did this right…" or "Next time you need to work on this."
- If there is any position on the list above that I didn't get right it's the defensive line. I didn't get to watch much of them, and the players were kind of jumbled together the entire time, so it was kind of hard to see. One glaring omission from the above list is Marlon Favorite, and it's very possible that he was out there and I just did not see him. It's also very likely that the list is not in the order in which the players took turns during drills. Next practice I'll make a point of watching the DL closer.
- The running backs worked a lot on running routes out of the backfield in their drills. Shawn Jordan would play LB, and Coach Porter had Hester, Williams, and Scott work on getting their route into the LB instead of cutting it short of him, because that gives the LB space to break and make a play on the ball. I thought it was interesting that Richard Murphy was not at practice this morning after all the reports of him moving up the depth chart and seeing the field a lot this year.
- The wide receivers were working a lot on route running technique, and Coach McCarthy was watching each player very closely making sure they did everything right. As expected, Early Doucet is clearly ahead of everyone else out there in really just about everything, but that is definitely a testament to him and the hard work he's put in for four years, not a slight to the other guys. Like Murphy at RB, I thought it was odd that Jared Mitchell and Terrance Toliver were not at the morning practice session after all the reports about them competing for serious playing time this year.
- The tight ends, wide receivers, and running backs all rotated over to the quarterbacks for different drills to run some routes, and during this you could see Coach Crowton's offense being implemented already. When the RBs rotated over, they worked on running the option out of the shotgun, and the little zone read play. When the WRs rotated over, they worked on a variety of screen plays, like the little quick step back screens and the inside bubble screens where the slot receiver runs a quick out route to pick the outside receivers defender while the outside receiver is running back to the QB for the pass. Everything was all short, quick passes; there wasn't really anything down the field. And it was the first day of camp so of course there some dropped passes and poor throws as expected, but nothing that can't be corrected in time for Mississippi St.
That's all for the morning practice session, but be sure to check back later this afternoon for a report on the afternoon practice session.