The media was only allowed to observe the first three periods of practice, which was still just basically the players warming up and going through position drills. However, there was one very noticeable difference today, and that was some players wearing maroon jerseys to signify them as part of the scout team. This could possibly offer some insight towards determining which freshmen you can expect to see the field this year and which ones are probably looking at a redshirt.
With that in mind, here are the freshmen that were in maroon jerseys for today's practice: Kentravis Aubrey, Will Blackwell, Ron Brooks, Shomari Clemons, Sidell Corley, Mitch Joseph, Stevan Ridley, Alex Russian, and John Williams. None of the offensive linemen were in maroon jerseys, and all of the quarterbacks were still in their non-contact green jerseys. This leaves Demetrius Byrd, Stefoin Francois, Chad Jones, Drake Nevis, and Terrance Toliver as the only first year players to go through today's practice in their normal offensive white or defensive purple jersey. Also every walkon had on a maroon practice squad jersey with the exception of wide receiver Josh McManus and linebackers Jeremy Benton and Ace Foyil.
One of the things I was hopeful to get a better idea of from today's practice was what the depth chart is looking like at each position. That was the case for some of the positions, but not all of them.
The offensive line was one of the positions where it was tough to get an idea of who was where on the depth chart because when I watched them they were hitting the sled in pairs, not as a five man unit. However as far as I could tell there were no absences among the offensive linemen today with the exception of Mark Snyder and Andrew Decker, who are out indefinitely with injuries.
The linebackers had the starters doing drills when I watched them, so it was Beckwith in the middle with Sanders and Highsmith outside. Jacob Cutrera was not back at practice today.
The defensive backs were another position where it was kind of difficult to determine the depth chart. Everyone knows the four starters are Chevis Jackson, Jonathan Zenon, Craig Steltz, and Curtis Taylor, but the nickel and dime positions are still somewhat unknown. But today when I watched them they were working on coming up and supporting the run, and the backups were in at corner and safety, so I don't know if the guys lining up in the nickel and dime spots were the backups there or not.
Unlike the offensive line and defensive backs, the defensive line may have offered some evidence for its depth chart today. The first group lined up hitting the sled when I watched them, from left to right, was Tyson Jackson, Glen Dorsey, Charles Alexander, and Kirston Pittman. The second group was Ricky Jean-Francois, Al Woods, Marlon Favorite, and Rahim Alem. Today was the first day Ricky Jean-Francois has been dressed out in full pads and participating in drills, and with him running today with the second team at left end, plus Will Blackwell being part of the scout team, it would appear the possibility of him playing this season may actually be better than many people think.
The running backs today were going through drills in the following order: Charles Scott, Keiland Williams, Jacob Hester, and Richard Murphy. This is pretty much the same from last week a well. With everyone expecting a breakout year from Keiland Williams and/or Richard Murphy, could it be that Charles Scott will actually begin the season as the starter at tailback?
The wide receivers went through drills in all kinds of different orders. Doucet is always first, Lafell was second until he missed a few reps to go talk to a trainer. Josh McManus was more in the middle of the line when Lafell was going, but when he left, McManus went second. Jared Mitchell, Chris Mitchell, and Trindon Holliday each took turns as third in line. Terrance Toliver and Demetrius Byrd were in the back right before the walk-ons. It really looks like after Doucet and Lafell they just lineup in any order.
Demetrius Byrd struggled some today and dropped 2-3 balls in the short time I watched them. Brandon Lafell must have some type of hamstring injury because when I was watching the defensive backs I heard Coach McCarthy yell out, "Come on Lafell concentrate. Your hammy doesn't affect your hands." Terrance Toliver was limping slightly back to the huddle after one of his reps, and I saw him stop and tell Coach Miles that he had landed wrong when he came down. He continued practicing and it didn't really appear to be anything serious.
The quarterbacks went through drills Matt Flynn, Ryan Perrilloux, Jarrett Lee, and Andrew Hatch. I'm sure this won't really surprise anyone, but in my opinion Ryan Perrilloux is definitely the No. 2 quarterback despite Coach Miles being unwilling to name a No. 2 yet. Perrilloux has gone through every practice I've seen as the No. 2, and he just looks more impressive to me than Lee.