Note: Shea Dixon observed the offense and David Helman focused on the defense.
The media was allowed to watch three periods which was just over 15 minutes and missing on the offensive side of the ball was Brett Helms, Josh Dworaczyk, and Matt Branch, while Alex Russian came on the field late as the media was leaving.
On defense, Charles Alexander was still missing from practice, but Chancey Aghayere made the move from green back to full-contact purple. Jacob Cutrera and Darry Beckwith were in green, and Stefoin Francois was still missing.
Coach Studrawa had the offensive line working on the blocking drills once again, and Ciron Black was back and looking healthy for the second day in a row.
The first team for Coach Stud was (from left to right) Black, Herman Johnson, Ryan Miller, Lyle Hitt and Joseph Barksdale. Running with the second team was (from left to right) Greg Shaw, Will Blackwell, T-Bob Hebert, Richard Dugas and Ernest McCoy.
Another note of interest was that in the middle of the third period the coaches screamed for the scout team lines to go to a certain part of the field and the o-line consisted of Thomas Parsons, PJ Lonergan, Clay Spencer, Tyler Simmons, Alex Hurst, and Trey Helms.
Coach Porter had the running backs alone today, working through drills to help with breaking through tackles as well as the option.
When working on the first drill, both the running backs and fullbacks were getting carries. Charles Scott looks in great shape, and if he was running over defenders last season then I am anxious to see what his new look can translate into on Saturday’s.
All the members of the backfield participated, including Tyler Edwards, who is continuing his process as a fullback instead of a tight end.
Coach Porter then ran a drill to work on catching the pitch out of the option, whether the quarterback be under center, in the Pistol or in Shotgun. He urged the backs to “plant down and explode out of the backfield”.
Keiland Williams and Scott both looked in great shape, and Richard Murphy’s speed and first step continue to impress. The three should once again form a formidable combination of punches come game time.
The quarterbacks and wide receivers continued working on out routes, being instructed by both coach Crowton and Coach Mac.
Lee was in a brace again, but showed no sign of discomfort for the second day in a row since his return from being sidelined. He has looked the part all camp, and did so once again today. His passes are crisp and get out of his hands a bit faster than Hatch.
Hatch looked good in the short yardage game, but once again struggled to hit receivers in stride when working past the 25 yard range. There were a few poorly thrown balls on the morning from Hatch, mainly deep balls that were overthrown or off the route a bit.
Time will tell what holds for Jefferson, who has been able to nearly go stride for stride with Hatch and Lee the majority of camp as far as throwing the ball goes but there is much more that he must master that we don’t have access to.
As for the receivers, Demetrius Byrd, who was sitting out drills yesterday while we were there, was back on the field in action today. He sat to the sidelines for the first few passes, then joined the team soon thereafter.
Terrance Tolliver impressed today, making a number of solid grabs in both the middle of the field and along the sidelines. The combination of Byrd, Tolliver and Brandon LaFell should give the young quarterbacks some room to breath, for they are an impressive trio to throw to.
Considering it was the last morning of two-a-days, things did not start out much differently for the defense.
Coach Lane had the defensive linemen hitting the sled from a kneeling position. Ricky Jean-Francois, Al Woods, Marlon Favorite, and Kirston Pittman got the first go of it. But I wouldn’t read too much into the depth along the line in this drill, as Jean-Francois was back on the sleds with Tremaine Johnson, Drake Nevis, and Favorite. Coach Lane was getting in the guys’ faces saying, “I hear some moaning but I don’t hear any damn growling.”
The defensive line also did a little extra work breaking blocks in 1 vs. 1 situations. Tyson Jackson went against Tremaine Johnson, Chancey Aghayere went against Lavar Edwards, Pittman went against Rahim Alem, Sidell Corley went against Chase Clement, Jonathon Nixon went against Cordian Hagans, Favorite went against Nevis, and Lazarius Levingston went against Jean-Francois.
After a few minutes with this, the scout teams got called out and the media got to see each unit work against the other.
Cordian Hagans, Lavar Edwards, Chancey Aghayere, Chase Clement, Kentravis Aubrey, and Jonathon Nixon got called across the facility to serve as the scout team defensive line.
The defensive linemen then started working against the scout team o-linemen that Shea mentioned earlier with the defense using two linemen and either one or two linebackers against the offense.
Nevis and Woods were the second-string defensive linemen, and Prater served as the middle linebacker with Beckwith and Cutrera sitting out. Coach Peveto seemed very pleased with Prater’s progress, as the freshman made several wrap-ups on McCartney and Lipoma.
The defensive ends did not participate, as Pittman and Jackson worked with the assistant coaches on pass rushing. As Jackson took turns cutting through a block and cutting inside, the coaches were telling him, “We’re just trying to take your hesitation out of the play.”
The linebackers were also working with the sled. As has been the norm, each player took a turn popping the sled and shifting into the gap on his right side. Beckwith and Cutrera were talking to the coaches, but they did not participate in any drills too much. As a result of this the young guys like Kyle Prater and Ryan Baker continued to get a lot of reps.
The defensive backs were doing the usual routine of backpedaling and shifting on routes.
The depth chart seems to be in place as it hasn’t changed much since the two different squads joined together last week. Chris Hawkins and Jai Eugene were the first team corners, with Curtis Taylor and Harry Coleman behind them. Patrick Peterson and Ron Brooks were second team, with Danny McCray and Chad Jones as the second team safeties. Phelon Jones and Brandon Taylor were the third-string corners, with Ryan St. Julien and Derrick Bryant bringing up the rear as the fourth-stringers.
One other note is that the defensive backs did not practice with the scout team.
When the media’s session ended, the defensive backs were working on running play assignments, taking on blocks and moving upfield to make the tackle.
The kickers and punters were out on the field for a change. Colt David was in attendance, but was not wearing any pads. The special teams assistants were helping with stretches. The most interesting part of it all was watching Brady Dalfrey do a sort of crab walk in which he had to crawl across the ground in the push-up position. I can only assume it was a leg stretching exercise.
This afternoon’s session is the final of two-a-days and TSD.com will be there to give you a full report.