Note: Shea Dixon covered offense, while Jeremy Kenny covered defense.
T-Bob Hebert, Shomari Clemons and Sidell Corley practiced in green non-contact jerseys. Kellen Theriot, Kentravis Aubrey, Stefoin Francois and Stevan Ridley were all held out of practice.
At quarterback, the 2009 spring looks like it will be playing out much like it did this time one year ago.
Jarrett Lee, the same quarterback that looked like a fish out of water in his opening Southeastern Conference campaign, has the best mechanics and the prettiest ball of the bunch. No matter the route, whether an out or post, the sophomore signal caller looks better doing it than the rest, plain and simple.
The Brenham-native was very animated at today's practice, bumping chests and slapping hands with wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Chris Mitchell on a number of occasions, while the remaining three scholarship quarterbacks exuded a much calmer demeanor.
Jordan Jefferson looked his normal self, hitting on the passing routes with a level of consistency just below Lee. Russell Shepard and Chris Garrett stayed in the mix throughout, with Garrett clearly further down the road than Shepard in terms of development.
While most expect Shepard to see roles in spot duty at multiple positions next season, the freshman speedster has yet to move away from the quarterback spot during camp.
Tiger head coach Les Miles said that the Houston native would remain at the spot for at least the opening three practices before they checked him out elsewhere, so keep an eye out for the headman to ponder testing Shepard at wideout in the coming weeks.
The running backs worked with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton's quarterbacks for a good bit of practice, focusing mainly on the development of passing to the running backs out of the backfield.
The typical trio of Charles Scott, Keiland Williams and Richard Murphy worked at the running back spot, joined for the first time this spring by Trindon Holliday. Holliday and Shepard worked together on shorter passing routes, a tandem that should please Tiger fans come fall.
LaFell, Terrance Toliver and Mitchell ran as the starting three at wide receiver, with rising redshirt freshman Tim Molton looking hot once more as he creeps his way up the depth chart.
Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa worked the offensive line out in pairs, breaking the tackles and tight ends and guards and centers into separate groups.
Ciron Black and Joseph Barksdale ran as the starting tackles, followed by Alex Hurst and Greg Shaw. Josh Dworaczyk and Lyle Hitt got the call on the front line at guard, followed by Clay Spencer and Thomas Parsons. T-Bob Hebert and Will Blackwell continue as the two centers for the spring session.
Richard Dickson led the tight ends in blocking drills, followed by Mitch Joseph and Alex Russian. Deangelo Peterson remains with the unit, though his progression has been slow.
During passing drills, Peterson looked leaps and bounds behind the group despite his athleticism in the open field. While most would expect the Desire Street standout to make his impact felt as a receiver at the tight end spot, the output shown thus far will not warrant him any time on the field quite yet.
At linebacker, Coach Chavis spent the majority of practice working on the linebackers' footwork. He ran them through a variety of different drills, inspecting each rep closely and stressing "feet, feet, feet," with every rep.
Towards the end, he had the linebackers working on a pass coverage drill where they had to read routes and maintain position if they were in man, or drop back and get a bump on the receiver going through their area if they were in zone.
The linebackers worked in pairs for all of these drills, usually being Kelvin Sheppard/Perry Riley, Jacob Cutrera/Ace Foyil, Ryan Baker/Shomari Clemons, with Kyle Prater and Kevin Minter each paired with walk-ons.
However, during a drill where they worked on driving through the ball carrier, Sheppard made a point to work with Minter, and he made it as tough as possible for Minter to wrap him up and drive through him while carrying the ball.
The defensive line was split into tackles and ends for most of practice. Coach Haley worked with the ends, which consisted of Rahim Alem, Pep Levingston, Chase Clement, and Chancey Aghayere. Coach Robinson took the defensive tackles, which consisted of Al Woods, Charles Alexander, Drake Nevis, Sidell Corley, Lavar Edwards, and Cordian Hagans.
Each group worked on various drills for getting off the ball, with the ends focusing on pass rushing, and the tackles focusing on breaking double teams and run stuffing.
Coach Cooper had a full unit of defensive backs at his disposal today, and that finally gave us an idea of how the depth chart may be shaping up. He had the players lining up in pairs by position, and the cornerbacks worked on their back pedal in man, and getting a bump on the receiver before releasing him in zone. The safeties worked on reading and jumping routes in front of them.
At cornerback, Patrick Peterson and Brandon Taylor were always the first group to go through drills, followed by Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins, Ron Brooks and Phelon Jones, and Ryan St. Julien and Derrick Bryant.
At safety, the first group was always Harry Coleman and Chad Jones, followed by Danny McCray and Karnell Hatcher, then Ron Brooks and Ryan St. Julien. After they went through a rep on one side of the field, the pairs switched sides and went to the other side of the field for their next rep.