Donning full pads for the first time, the varsity and freshmen squad came together for the only workout of the day. TigerRag.com will have reaction from coach Les Miles following this morning's practice as well as interviews with selected players.
After four full days of two-a-day workouts, there were a number of players who missed this morning's practice session. Absent from the morning drills were offensive lineman Lyle Hitt, cornerback Chevis Jackson, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and wide receiver Jared Mitchell.
We'll find out from Miles this afternoon what is the status of all four players. It is the first practice missed by Hitt, Dorsey and Jackson, but Mitchell has been present for only two workouts so far this Fall Camp.
The debate rages on as to what truly is Mitchell's status. At first it was reported as dehydration, but then there were some rumors of a bum shoulder. There are new reports that indicate he has an injured quadriceps muscle carrying over from baseball. We'll try and get to the bottom of it.
Other than those missing, there were no players dressed in green jerseys today.
There was definitely a feel of a real practice today with the players being dressed in full pads. The drills were at a much higher pace and the intensity level was raised quite a bit. Also the increased numbers provided more head to head matchups in light contact drills.
There was some debate yesterday among members of the media as to who is the Tigers third wide receiver. There is little debate about who is Nos. 1 & 2 as Early Doucet and Brandon LaFell have those slots locked down.
But who's the third wideout. In all likelihood, Jared Mitchell would probably be third, but injuries have slowed him in the early stages of this camp. Chris Mitchell is the popular choice, but he struggled to catch the ball this morning and drew heavy criticism from wide receivers coach DJ McCarthy for running weak routes.
"It seven steps not five," McCarthy barked at Chris Mitchell this morning. "You're going to kill your quarterback withy that kind of route. Five steps is going to run you out of bounds. Seven steps allows you to get up field."
In this opinion, Ricky Dixon would be a great third receiver. He isn't the fastest among the wide receivers, but he has a big frame and great hands.
But right now, the third wideout is – believe it or not – Trindon Holliday. He's small in stature, but he has good hands and we all know about that speed. He also runs great, crisp routes.
A little FYI, after watching Terrance Toliver for four days in only shorts, a jersey and helmet, it was re-assuring to see the true freshmen wide receiver don full pads. While he's still skinny, he looks much more ready to play once he's in all the gear.
Another side note, Demetrius Byrd was called out several times about the way he was catching the ball.
"Byrd, Two hands on that ball (when you tuck it away)!" screamed offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.
Byrd hasn't done the best job catching the ball through Fall Camp. Toliver, on the other hand, does a tremendous job of catching the ball with his hands.
Taking in some running back drills, the quarterbacks and running backs took part in extensive handoff drills practicing all types of exchanges including draws, leads and counters. Keiland Williams led off the drills followed by Jacob Hester, Charles Scott, Richard Murphy and Steven Ridley.
With most every starting spot on the defensive side of the ball all but wrapped up, the one position that is still up in the air is right defensive end. Rahim Alem is the odds on favorite for the job, but he is getting pushed by Tremaine Johnson. Today, both Alem and Johnson ran with the ones.
The tackles will be Dorsey and Charles Alexander, who has a slight edge over Marlon Favorite. But today, Alexander and Favorite were running with the ones while Dorsey was out of commission.
The left end spot is a no-brainer with Tyson Jackson being a returning starter from a year ago and a preseason all-American selection by some publications.
There was the largest gathering of NFL scouts so far this Fall Camp this morning. There were representatives from the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans.
PRACTICE REPORT: Wednesday 8-08
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