The Rebel defense 'stole' the show, and the ball numerous times, in Sunday's practice in some extreme heat. Read about it inside.

Rarely do you witness a 7-on-7 drill where the defense picks off five passes in a row. It's rare because the offense has an advantage with no rush on the quarterback and no big lineman for the quarterback to look over and around.

But that's exactly what happened in Sunday's helmets and shorts workout on the practice fields in some fairly severe heat.

"They took it away in droves," said Nutt. "I loved what the defense did today. They really ran to the ball and caused a lot of turnovers. Interception after interception, in droves.

"I'm not saying we are there, but we got better today on defense. We showed speed and we broke on the ball really well. The athleticism is starting to surface. Senquez Golson showed up again. He doesn't look like a freshman. Aaron Garbutt made some plays, plus a pick. Nick Brassell looks good on both sides of the ball and had a pick today. There's no doubt in my mind he can play both ways. Charles Sawyer, Marcus Temple and Wesley Pendleton are playing better and Damien Jackson had two picks today. He looks really good and has more confidence this year."

While the quarterbacks - all three - get the credit for the multiple picks, Nutt said it was not all their fault.

"Sometimes we'd run the wrong routes, sometimes the protection would break down in the team drills," he said. "It was a combination of everything. Bottom line, though, is that we can throw, catch and protect better than we did today. We'll correct off the film and come back at it again tomorrow."

Nutt conceded the Rebs were affected a bit toward the end by the brutal heat, tempered only by a mild, hot breeze that at times felt like a hair dryer rather than a blessing from above, but overall he felt they handled their first real dose of heat "pretty good."

"We gave in a little at the end and lost our focus, but overall we did fine. Nobody is having to go to the hospital for an IV drip or anything and that's a key," he said. "We'll give them a little more of it tomorrow and build from there."

For the second day in a row, Nutt heaped praise on the freshmen and newcomers.

"They are really hustling and competing and I appreciate that. They are a competitive bunch that doesn't give in," he stated.

On the OL front, the left guard slot was somewhat open after spring training, with Patrick Junen and Tank Washington in a dead heat. It appears Junen is taking an early lead in that competition.

"Patrick is doing really well. He has a better grasp of terminology, communication with the center and left tackle. I am anxious to get the pads on him and see if he carries that over," Nutt closed.

Random Notes:

* Don't know if this means much this early on, but today DT Gilbert Pena was lining up with the first team defense along side Carlton Martin. Bryon Bennett was with the ones yesterday.

* The veteran cornerbacks are having a good showing thus far, but the talk of camp the first two days is the quick development of both Golson and Brassell. As Nutt said, Brassell had another pick Sunday and Golson batted down a couple of passes in team drills. From their early showing, they have a knack for making plays and being around the ball. P.S. - Both look pretty comfortable fielding punts as well. Bonus.

Jamal Mosley
File Photo
* TE Jamal Mosely continues to impress. He has "real deal" stamped on his forehead and it looks as if the coaches recognize it. He's already being used in different positions and in motion, etc. He is an imposing figure on the field. Mosley's presence has also pushed veteran Ferbia Allen to greater heights thus far. Ferb is making plays as well.

* Punter Tyler Campbell worked hard on getting added hang time during the summer. It's costing him a little distance, but today he was consistency kicking the ball 45 yards with five-second hang time. Work well done in the summer.

* This team is needing more leaders, something that was recognized last year and into spring. It's refreshing when another one pops up. Today, Brishen Mathews showed a more vocal side, encouraging his teammates. To this point, Brish has been kind of quiet, but he's opening up now. Good to see and hear.

* If effort was the only measuring stick to get a player on the field, MLB Ralph Williams would be one of the top five players on the team. Ralph wants to play as badly as anyone on the team and, consequently, he has put himself in position for some PT. He's always the first in line for drills and he never slacks up. Looks as if he learned well from his mentor, D.T. Shackelford.

* Once again, in passing drills, the physicality of freshmen Tobias Singleton and Donte Moncrief surfaced. Once again, as was the case yesterday, a DB would be all over them and they would make a slight move with their hip or shoulder and get separation with brute force. Pretty cool to see from frosh.

Charles Sawyer
File Photo
* In the interception barrage, OLB Vincent Moss got things going with a clean pick on an out route on a Randall Mackey pass. Charles Sawyer then pick Mackey by undercutting a receiver and Garbutt got a pick off Mackey off a tipped pass. Brassell then intercepted a Zack Stoudt throw in a crowd and Damien Jackson picked Stoudt on a bad read. (Barry Brunetti was not immune either - he threw a pick to Jackson on the first play of team drills.)

* While nobody has pads on and it's hard to say, the running game - expected to be a strength this year - seems to be in good form for the early going. Brandon Bolden, who is getting limited reps right now to see what the "others" can do, ripped off a 20-yard run where he was untouched, then Jeff Scott ripped off a 25 and 65. Devin Thomas also scored from 50 out through a big hole. Again, no pads, but these guys were running through some empty spaces.

* Jason Jones and Wayne Dorsey split time with the number one defense at left end. Dorsey had a sack in team drills, causing a Stoudt fumble as he slapped the ball away from Zack's blind side.

* A lot is being said about Brassell, Moncrief and Singleton, but Collins Moore is also having his moments. While he doesn't appear as explosive as those three from a speed perspective, he may have the best hands of all of them and will catch the ball in a crowd and during contact.

* Media Day is Monday morning from 9-11 and then it's another practice tomorrow afternoon. The Rebs will don the shoulder pads for the first time Monday.

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