Missing players continued to be the major theme. Jarrett Lee and Jacob Cutrera were both absent again from this morning. Additional missing players of note were Brandon Lafell, RJ Jackson, Stevan Ridley, Richard Dugas and Ciron Black. Perry Riley continued to practice in a green jersey. Charles Alexander was in shorts and a jersey and was working on the side with a graduate assistant. The media was allowed to observe for about ten minutes.
With Lafell and Jackson out, the receiver group was significantly smaller than usual. The pairings in drills were Terrance Toliver and Reuben Randle, Chris Mitchell and Chris Tolliver, and Jhyryn Taylor with Jarred Joseph.
The quarterbacks seemed to spend a little more time throwing to the running backs today than usual, probably because the running backs were actually splitting out wide and running routes. The order in the drills was Charles Scott, Richard Murphy, Trindon Holliday, Keiland Williams, Drayton Calhoun, and Michael Ford. They lined up mostly in the slot and ran crossing or post routes. Scott and Murphy displayed the best hands of the group by far. Holliday was able to reel in a few wobbly passes from Shepard. Williams and Calhoun both dropped balls that hit them right in the hands. Ford tended to catch the ball with his body.
The defensive line was once again split into ends and tackles. The ends were working on pursuing the ball down the line of scrimmage from the backside on running plays. The tackles continued working on their footwork and hand placement when getting off the ball.
The linebackers again lined up in their 3 man units to work on reading run plays. With Cutrera still out, the first unit was once again Perry Riley at SAM, Kelvin Sheppard at MIKE, and Harry Coleman at WILL. The units from thereafter usually changed with each rep, but Ryan Baker was usually the second SAM backer and Kevin Minter the second MIKE. Josh Johns continued to work with the linebackers this afternoon.
For the first time in a while, Chris Hawkins was back running with the first unit at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. To begin practice the secondary lined up in their 4 man units to work on ball pursuit - and Hawkins was paired with Peterson in this drill. After this, Coach Cooper had the secondary work on ball-stripping drills. In the first drill the defender had to come at the ball carrier full speed then punch the ball out from both the top and the bottom. In the second drill, the defender had to first wrap up the ball carrier, and then rip the ball out as he was driving the ball carrier backwards. Peterson, the most physical Tiger of the bunch, was the most impressive.