Practice Report: Cut decides on short workout

For the second day in a row, Coach David Cutcliffe shortened practice and cut back on the Rebs' workload. After reviewing the situation this morning, he decided a few light days and a day off Sunday would be what the doctor ordered for his team after a tough, but productive, August.

"We evaluated everything this morning and decided the best thing for this team would be a day of mental work," said Cutcliffe. "We've had a really good camp, but the kids are tired and beat up. We don't want to enter the season in that frame of mind. We are not quite where we want to be, but we still have next week to get there.

"We have done enough physical work to this point. Now it all comes down to knowing what to do. That is another reason we did only mental work today in a one-hour practice session. We will go over the entire kicking game tomorrow morning and then take Sunday off. We will come back Monday with our normal game week preparations. There will be some controlled contact. We graded effort and energy real hard this August and the kids have given us what we asked for. Now it's time to back off a little so we will be as fresh as possible for the opening game."

Cutcliffe also took the opportunity with a couple of media members to send his condolences and prayers to the members of the ATO fraternity that burned down this morning on campus and to the family members of the young men who perished in the fire.

"It's been a sad day on our campus. The whole team is saddened by what happened. All of them have friends in that fraternity and they are grief-stricken," he noted. "The ATOs have been wonderful supporters of our program and our prayers go out to all involved."

Notes:

* Even though it was a walk-through, there were still some tidbits to pick up on. One concerns the defensive ends. The teams were divided into scout teams and top two teams, and change, of players who - at this very moment - are expected to play against Memphis. Surprisingly, on the scout team today were a three defensive ends not expected to be - Brandon Jenkins, Viciente DeLoach and Dedrick Clark. Working with the top two units were Cory Robinson, Jayme Mitchell, Corvelli Haynes, Corey Mills and Chris Bowers. We asked DE Coach Marion Hobby about it. He was not very wordy in his explanation. "It is put up or shut up time. It's not what did you do for your team in spring or last year. It's what you did for the team now," said Hobby. "The guys on the varsity end have put up. The guys on the other end have not responded. This is not etched in stone - my depth chart has been changing on a daily basis, but that's where it stands now," Hobby noted. . . It appears Hobby is sending a message to his DEs. We shall see.

* TB Brandon Jacobs was taking walk through snaps today. This is just deductive reasoning, but we doubt the coaches would be "wasting" reps on Brandon if they didn't expect him back pretty soon from his sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee. Again, we shall see.

* LB Patrick Willis broke his wrist last year and played through it all season. He was operated on last winter. Last Saturday, he broke a small bone in his other wrist in a scrimmage and has been practicing this week in a cast. Patrick will play this year - or at least part of the year - like he did last year - in a light cast.

* TB Alan Abrams is with the "big boys" this year after redshirting a year ago and feels he has earned his stripes for playing time. "One, I'm injury free. I had shoulder problems last year, but I'm fine now," he said. "I've had a good camp, I think. I've improved my pass receiving skills, which was a priority. I have more work to do on my pass protection, but I have also improved that. Everything else is ready to go."

* Offesive Coordinator John Latina always takes pluses and minuses from scrimmages. After watching the tape of the Best vs. the Rest scrimmage Wednesday, he came to the same conclusion as always. "On the plus side, I think we are understanding our schemes well and recognizing defenses better. I thought our execution was very good," he said. "On the minus side, we can't live with two fumbles. One of the things that has to take place for us to win this year is for us to take care of the ball. We have to possess the ball as much as possible and we have to protect it better than we did in that scrimmage. I think we have done a good job of getting the basics of our gameplan in this week. We have ample time to get the rest in next week. It's always good to have two weeks to put in a gameplan against a defensive coordinator like Joe Lee Dunn, who can give you just about any look at just about any time."

* The Rebs will hold a kicking game walk through in the morning for about an hour. There will be no practice report on the walk-through. Our next practice report will be Monday evening. By mid-week of next week, we hope to have a complete depth chart completed to add to the two-deep we published a couple of weeks ago.

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