The defense broke into their separate position groups and rotated through tackling drills with each set of coaches. Freshman Eric Reid drew words of praise from the coaches on a couple of occasions. He’s got quick feet and packs a punch when he hits the bags. Coaches Les Miles and John Chavis both mentioned Reid as someone who’s fighting for early time at safety, and through the first week of practice they rotated him in a number of times with the two-deep at safety.
When the linebackers worked three at a time the first group was Ryan Baker (weakside), Kelvin Sheppard (middle) and Stefoin Francois (strongside). The second group that followed consisted of Lamin Barrow (weakside), Kevin Minter (middle) and Tahj Jones (strongside). Coach Chavis is still searching for how the rotation will shake out, and right now Minter and Barrow look like they are leading the way. Outside the top three names, Minter is reportedly creating space from the rest of the pack. An option would be putting Minter in the middle and moving Sheppard to one of the outside spots.
Josh Downs was still gone from the defensive line. Downs said earlier in the week that he was battling a minor hamstring issue. With his absence, Chris Davenport continues to stand in with the two-deep at defensive tackle.
On offense, the wide receivers and quarterbacks worked on both their short and deep routes. Jordan Jefferson was hitting his receivers in stride more consistently this morning than when the group worked on deep balls earlier in the week. When talking leadership, both Jefferson and Jarrett Lee were getting after their receivers with instructions. There were a couple of times where I saw Lee tell the young guys to “get your head turned around on that route,” or something to that effect. I can’t remember Lee being this active and vocal last fall.
The running backs worked on counter and read-option plays in the red zone. The vets Richard Murphy and Stevan Ridley led the way. They were followed by Mike Ford, Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware. Coach Frank Wilson brought Jakhari Gore back to the running backs from the receivers group towards the end of the media session, but Gore worked as the wideout in each set.
The Tigers have the afternoon off before they return to two-a-days on Friday. Stay with TigerSportsDigest.com for more throughout camp.