The Best Five

There is some shuffling going on at practice with the offensive line. OL Coach Matt Luke has made it abundantly clear since the start of spring training some six months ago that he will go with "the best five." Who are they?

The first couple of days of August camp, the top offensive line consisted of Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil, Left Guard Aaron Morris, Center Ben Still, Right Guard Justin Bell and Right Tackle Robert Conyers.

At Tuesday's practice, Tunsil, Morris and Bell remained where they started, but Conyers was at center and JUCO transfer Fahn Cooper was at right tackle.

This early into August camp, that doesn't mean a whole lot other than OL Coach Matt Luke is trying different combinations and doing what he said he would do all along, search for the best five and play them.

But it does show that there is some real competition going on in the offensive trenches and that, perhaps, Luke, despite preseason thoughts, does have some viable options.

There was also a little movement on the two OL - with Still being the center, Conyers working some at RT also, and Daronte Bouldin and Craig Frigo switching gurd slots - Bouldin to the right side and Frigo to the left. Davion Johnson appears to have the early advantage to back up Tunsil.


Ole Miss offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil (left) and Fahn Cooper (right)

The unknown at this time is how quickly a Carlton Martin or a Rod Taylor, for instance, can push the top 10 at the moment.

The interesting part will be what Luke has to say about it all when the media gets a shot to talk to him about the OL. . . .

Random Notes:

* In a short newcomer versus newcomer scrimmage, Running Back Eugene Brazley made a nice 12-yard inside run that excited the coaches. He cut off an inside block and exploded through a small hole at the line of scrimmage, showing quick reaction time and vision. . . In the same period, DT Breeland Speaks and DE Garrald McDowell had quarterback sacks.

*Due to limited time at practice allowed for the media, it's been hard to decipher how much DT Woodrow Hamilton is doing, but we can verify he is dressed out in full pads and is participating in individual, half-line and full-line contact drills.

* Whoever the punter turns out to be, he will undoubtedly feel protected with the beef he will have immediately in front of him. His personal protectors will be Fadol Brown, Robert Nkemdiche and Jeremy Liggins, it looks like. Those are three big, athletic guys capable of taking on full-speed rushers and adjust when they change directions.


Sammie Epps has been moved from tight end to wide receiver.

* It looks as if Special Teams Coordinator Tom Allen will stay with some of his frontline players for the critical job of punt coverage. Today, Cody Prewitt, Keith Lewis, Serderius Bryant, Cody Core and Mike Hilton were in the mix with the first team punt unit.

* In a passing drill with the running backs, it was apparent all the backs, to a man, are very comfortable catching the ball. Even the big backs, Jordan Wilkins and Akeem Judd, seem to have soft, reliable hands.

* Freshman Sammie Epps has been moved, for the time being at least, to the slot position from tight end. Coach Hugh Freeze said that move was predicated on what is best for Epps and the team at this time and Sammie's growth will determine if it is permanent or not.

* On the move up - there is a buzz in the early part of camps over the improvement of Middle Linebacker Christian Russell. We hear the trust factor with him is rising rapidly and he has displayed the kind of toughness and speed the coaches are looking for.

* Today was the first time we've had a chance to see Bo Wallace throw quite a bit - 50 or so balls. He is definitely throwing with more authority than last year and even last spring. The most noticeable improvement is the deep ball.

* Injury list, none of them serious: DT Issac Gross, FS C.J. Hampton, OL Chase Hughes, DE Fadol Brown.


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