The team participated in different drills than usual at the beginning of practice. This new look allowed for more analysis of the team.
One drill that the linebackers worked on was a box agility drill and working on snagging interceptions and picking up fumbles. All of the linebackers appeared to have good hands when catching the hard thrown balls at a short distance. Sophomore Keanon Cooper, junior Gary Tinsley, and redshirt freshman Aaron Hill had quick feet and hips and a healthy dose of agility. The three showed superior athleticism and good hands throughout the drill.
Another drill worked with the players who have a chance at appearing on special teams. The mix of linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties worked in three lines on cutting past an opponent, breaking a block and then tackling practice pads. The half-speed drill was meant to be done with intensity. Some players were scolded for hugging the pad, not tackling it.
One player who looked good in practice today was Florida Gators transfer linebacker, Brendan Beal. Beal, who will have to sit out this season due to his transfer, definitely looks the part of a big mean linebacker. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Beal looked to be working hard in drills and showed off his size and agility that made him a recruit for one of the top defensive teams in the nation. If the injury-plagued Beal can stay healthy, he should be a monster in the middle of the field next season.
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