(Offense by Mike Frank)
Seemed the coaches were picking it up a notch as well....again, to be expected. Lot more chatter out of the coaches during individual drills.
I checked out the QBs. Once again, they were working on their drops. Sorry, wish I had more for you on this, but that's all we see.
Head coach Charlie Weis walked around the offense during individuals. Freshman receiver Golden Tate had a rough go through the bags and got the usual Charlie chatter: "Don't they have bags in Tennessee?"
The receivers were going through the 4-cone drill and assistant Rob Ianello was really on them today. He was working them hard.
Sophomore receiver Richard Jackson had a wrap on his wrist, so I assume that's why he didn't go through the gauntlet yesterday. George West continues to impress me a great deal. He's just quick and has great hands and makes every rep count. David Grimes is the No. 1 guy, but West can't be far behind. Also, DJ Hord continues to impress. Doesn't drop anything. Robbie Parris also did a nice job, even though he rounded a cone, which brought out some angst in Ianello.
Tate continues to look like a RB learning WR. He'll look fantastic at times, but then struggles with the techniques at times. He'll be a good one. Just needs to learn a bit more.
The OL was working on staying low when coming out of their stance. They have a big bar like a limbo bar that they line up under and have to come out of their stance to strike an opponent without hitting the bar.
Haywood was working with the backs on ball security. He spends a lot of time on this, and I'm sure that's why they don't fumble often. He had each back running through a line where all the other backs were on either side trying to pop the ball loose from their teammate. Not one back fumbled, which was an encouraging sign. Haywood also spent considerable time teaching the finer points of holding onto the ball before the drill. It's obviously very important to him.
I got the sense that the team hit a wall (which happens every year and to all teams about this time) and that hurricane Charlie was about to come ashore. He didn't seem mad today, but I just got the feeling based on how much chatter was coming through the coaches, that this was going to be a practice where we saw hurricane Charlie. Wish I could be there to see it!
(Defense by Steve Wiltfong)
Defensive coordinator Corwin Brown made his rounds through the defense while they were stretching, making a comment or two to everyone. He stopped extensively with freshman safety Harrison Smith.
While the team was stretching, Weis called graduate assistant Shane Waldron out, asking him how old he was today? That caused a stir amongst the players.
As the team broke out of stretching into quickness and agility drills, inside linebackers coach Brian Polian started yelling, "energy, energy, lets go."
The defensive backs and outside linebackers were on one set of bags while the rest of the defense was on the other. Players do multiple things to work on foot speed and quickness with the bags. "Pick your feet up, head up, speed your feet up," defensive backs coach Bill Lewis continually yelled. Tom Zbikowski looks great during these drills.
In the middle of the bag drills, Trevor Laws, Pat Kuntz and Zbikowski started quoting lines from Varsity Blues in their best southern accents.
Breaking up into position drills, the DBs were working on pushing off a blocker once the RB commits to a side and getting to the ball carrier, knocking down a stiff arm and making a play. Ray Herring went first in this drill. There have been some questions about his health. For the 20 minutes I was there, it looked like he participated in everything. Zbikowski was second and got huge props from Lewis. "Zibby, that away to get his head down," Lewis said when Zbikowski shed the block smoothly and got to the ball carrier. Lewis had to show junior safety David Bruton exactly where to put his hands to shed the block. His hands were too high. "When you tug, you keep your balance," Lewis explained on how to shed the block. He also made Jashaad Gaines do the drill twice.
The defensive line was pushing the sled around across the field.
The outside linebackers were catching interceptions coming straight at them. Then they worked on their backpedal in coverage and changing directions. Corwin Brown was with the OLBs today.
The inside linebackers were doing a new drill where they are on all fours, and when Polian tells them, they lunge forward and punch a bag somebody is holding in front of them. Following that, they moved over to the sled and worked on a 6-inch punch drill.