The Tigers spent the afternoon of day three of camp putting their new outdoor turf field to good use as rain from earlier in the afternoon soaked the grass fields.
Just as the veterans this morning, the freshmen donned shells for the first time at today’s practice.
Ron Brooks and Ryan St. Julien were both at the afternoon practice session after being absent from this morning’s. John Williams also continued to work with the younger group this afternoon.
There were quite a few players missing this afternoon, including Barkevious Mingo, Stefoin Francois, and Kellen Theriot. Cordian Hagans was not dressed out again this afternoon, but was watching and listening intently throughout practice. Stevan Ridley was fully dressed but I didn’t see him participating in many drills.
The quarterbacks and receivers worked on a variety of short and underneath crossing routes for most of practice. As has been the case since the spring, Chris Garrett was on point for most of practice, while Russell Shepard continues to struggle with his accuracy on a consistent basis. Not surprisingly, he looks a little more comfortable when he is rolling out and throwing on the run, but he still has a ways to go with being consistent. One pass looks beautiful then the next is off target.
With Morris Claiborne attending the morning practice today, John Williams and Reuben Randle were the only scholarship receivers at the afternoon session. Randle continues to look very smooth and effortless going through drills. After working with the quarterbacks, the receivers went to work on some hand-eye coordination drills. For an example of one of the drills, they had to hold the ball vertically in one hand on its point, then drop it and catch the point with the other hand before the ball reached the ground.
Don Yanowsky had the tight ends working on blocking for most of the afternoon. For the last period they went with the quarterbacks and worked on delayed routes, most likely on play-action plays, where they went in motion and then snuck out the backfield into the flats.
After the running back finished their usual footwork and agility drills, they worked on taking handoffs from the quarterback on what looked like simple lead plays. They would line up in the I-formation, the fullback would burst through the middle of where the line would be, and the running back would follow him after taking the handoff. Drayton Calhoun looked particularly explosive coming through the line, while Michael Ford ran with a body lean and leg action that resembled a slightly smaller version of Charles Scott.
The offensive line worked mostly on run blocking drills. Going from left to right were Greg Shaw, walkon Ben Domingue, T-Bob Hebert, Josh Williford, and Matt Branch. Carneal Ainsworth rotated with Domingue at left guard, while Stavion Lowe rotated with Matt Branch at right tackle.
John Chavis had the linebackers working on agility and reaction drills for most of practice, focusing especially on their footwork. For the last period they worked in units on dropping back into zones in pass coverage. The first group saw Kevin Minter in the middle flanked by Rocky Duplessis and Ace Foyil. The second group was Lamin Barrow in the middle with Tahj Jones and walkon Seth Fruge at his side.
It was very obvious during these drills that Tahj Jones is well behind from where the rest of the linebackers are, even the freshmen. He was not as quick or precise during these drills as the rest of the group, and often reacted noticeably later than the rest of the group. This is understandable given it’s only his second day of practice while the others have been working on these drills since June. However, the fact that he is so far behind and noticeably smaller than the rest of the group leaves little doubt that he will be red-shirting this year.
Just as is wasn’t very surprising that Jones was behind in the drills, it was equally as unsurprising that Kevin Minter looked like a season veteran after having gone through spring practice with the team. Minter clearly stands out above the rest of the group, both physically and in performance, and appears the most likely to make an impact on the field this fall.
The only scholarship defensive backs at practice were Ron Brooks, Ryan St. Julien, Derrick Bryant, and Josh Johns. The group did not split into corners and safeties, but instead stayed together throughout practice. They spent most of practice working mostly on their backpedal and reading the quarterbacks eyes.
Unfortunately we were not able to get a good look at the defensive line today as they spent the entire practice working behind the goal post, blocking sleds, dummies, and other position groups on a side of the field the media was not allowed on. We’ll make sure and give them some extra attention at Monday’s practice.
That’s all for the afternoon practice report but we will have video up shortly. There is no practice tomorrow as the players will be attending fan day and media day but expect tons of coverage tomorrow.