On the offensive side, Brett Helms was still missing, and neither Ciron Black nor Matt Branch was there while the media was in. Charles Alexander, Darry Beckwith, Jacob Cutrera, and Stefoin Francois were all missing from the defense, while Chancey Aghayere was in his green non-contact jersey just like this morning.
The quarterbacks looked good again this afternoon, with Jarrett Lee once again standing out. They worked primarily on the short routes again this afternoon, and Lee seemed to be placing every ball right between his numbers. While Jordan Jefferson undoubtedly has the strongest arm of the three quarterbacks, Lee seems to have the best velocity on his short passes. I don’t really know how to explain it other than saying the ball seems to jump out of Lee’s hand when it’s released.
It’s possible that Jefferson is still holding back a little as he continues to grow more comfortable with everything. But even if that is the case, Lee’s arm is plenty strong enough to get the job done on the short throws, and from what little we’ve seen, on the intermediate and long throws as well. I think it really says a lot about where he is at in comparison to the other two for him to miss three practices, then come out today and easily look the best of the three.
The receivers brought out the cones to work on foot speed and agility drills after working with the quarterbacks today.
There was a noticeable difference between the veteran guys and the freshmen during this drill, and not surprisingly Coach McCarthy had to correct the freshmen a few times on their technique during the drill. As expected Trindon Holliday looked the best during this drill, but I was surprised at how quick Brandon LaFell looked. LaFell has had a very strong fall camp thus far and definitely looks ready to have a breakout year.
The tight ends were working with Coach Henson on both their run blocking and routes running today.
As mentioned earlier, Branch was not with the tight ends this afternoon. Alex Russian was dressed out but had his helmet off and was watching from the side the whole practice, which seems to be happening a lot lately. It was also interesting to note that after Richard Dickson, walk-on Caleb Angelle was going through drills second, followed by Mitch Joseph and walk-on Jake Bryan.
Coach Studrawa had the offensive line working on their blocking assignments once again this afternoon.
In Black’s absence, Ernest McCoy moved up to the first team left tackle spot and Greg Shaw continues to run with the second team but this afternoon he was on the left side rather than the right. Filling out the left side of the line was Will Blackwell at guard and T-Bob Hebert at center.
The running backs worked on receiving out of the backfield again while running a variety of routes, including flares, play action out routes, and middle screens. The order of the running backs going through drills changed once again this afternoon as Charles Scott was now leading off, followed by Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy, and Stevan Ridley.
Defensively, Coach Lane was with the tackling sled and told the defensive linemen, “1s and 2s, get to the side. 3s and 4s, the best way to help yourselves on the depth chart is to get to the front of the line and show me what you got.”
Al Woods and Lazarius Levingston were the first up to the sled to have a go. Take this with a grain of salt, but Coach Lane did not seem happy with Woods’ effort, and Woods’ body language seemed to suggest that he was not too happy and he quickly moved to the back of the line.
It’s hard to tell what’s going on between the coaches and players from the media’s vantage point, but it looked like Woods was in Lane’s doghouse. That is the impression that myself and other reporters got from the vantage point we had.
Coach Peveto had the linebackers hitting the sleds, only in this instance from a kneeling position.
In Beckwith and Cutrera’s absence, Shomari Clemons was getting the starting reps at Mike linebacker. Kellen Theriot was switching out with Riley and Sheppard, and Ryan Baker was trying his hand at the Mike and Buck spots.
The linebackers then worked on fumble recoveries. The coaches’ assistants were tossing balls on the ground and Peveto was telling the guys, “bend your knees and get it, just like a shortstop in baseball.”
The linebackers later moved the focus to stopping the quarterback out of the shotgun, as has often been the case.
Kyle Prater and David Impastato served as the quarterback and halfback respectively, as the linebackers took turns passing through the gaps to stop the run. Sheppard held down the weak side spot, with Clemons in the middle and Riley on the other side. The 1’s rarely went together as one unit, instead allowing Baker and Theriot to get some work in
We saw the cornerbacks running against the safeties in 1 vs.1 pass protection.
The majority of the routes were fade patterns, and the starting corners were going against the starting safeties and on down the line. Jai Eugene and Patrick Peterson looked good in pass coverage, and Ryan St. Julien made a particularly nice deflection.
The corners then changed up their pass coverage routines, giving them work on rotating their hips. The coaches did not throw any balls to the receivers, and instead allowed the corners to work on their mechanics.
Chris Hawkins and Jai Eugene were the first team corners, and they went against Curtis Taylor and Harry Coleman. Patrick Peterson and Ron Brooks held down the second-team jobs, while Phelon Jones and Brandon Taylor were the third-teamers. Ryan St. Julien and Daniel Graff went fourth, with Joe Maltempi bringing up the rear as the final DB to go.
That’s about all we got to observe today but practice starts again Thursday morning and TSD.com will be there to cover it along with Les Miles’ meeting with the media shortly after noon.