Junior Defensive End Greg Hardy was dressed out and running through drills with his defensive line teammates for the first time since early August when he suffered a stress fracture in his foot.
Hardy, a preseason All-SEC choice, looked to be going through drills pain-free and only slightly, if at all, favoring the foot that was injured.
Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker was asked about Hardy's practice.
"He showed some spurts today. We repped him two out of every four snaps. We're trying to get him in good condition and make sure he understands what we are doing," Rocker said. "We don't want him going the wrong way and hurting someone else. He moved around pretty well.
"Greg has never had a problem with the mental part and understanding what he's supposed to do. My biggest concerns are conditioning and making sure we do things the right way with him. We have to let him get adjusted and be patient with him."
Houston Nutt marveled at the 72 degree weather and said the Rebs got off to a good start in the preparations for Vanderbilt.
"The weather is too nice, guys," he smiled at the media. "We'll have to move faster tomorrow, but we had a good practice overall. We'll get some more things corrected tomorrow and play faster. I saw SEC intensity. They know it's time and they know we are playing a good team.
"Vandy is very good and very sound and they have a lot of confidence right now."
Nutt was also asked about Hardy's practice session.
"He looked good. It was good to have him out here in full pads, but the key will be how he feels tomorrow, how sore he is or isn't," Houston continued. "The stopping and starting, you could tell he was a little tender, but I'm glad to see him back."
In the Samford game, QB Jevan Snead was "off." What was the final verdict and how will the sophomore correct himself?
"Coach (Kent) Austin is the best at teaching techniques and mechanics. Jevan wasn't following through, but the good thing about it is Jevan knew what he was doing wrong before the meeting on Sunday, which tells me he'll get it fixed," Nutt noted.
The Vandy offense centers around QB Chris Nickson and TB Jared Hawkins. Nutt said the key to limiting their production is being physical.
"You have to be physical, get off blocks, play with proper pad level," Houston added. "This guy (Nickson) can really gut you. And Hawkins runs behind his pads very well. Nickson keeps you off balance because he can hand it to Hawkins, fake it and keep it himself or throw it. He's a triple threat."
Nutt said he believes his defense can meet the challenge the Vandy O presents.
"There are things we can do better. We've had opportunities to make some sacks we've overrun and things like that, but I think we can be physical enough. I think we'll get better. We just have to keep working toward being what we know we can be," he closed.
* Other than DE LaMark Armour, who is out for the year after recent knee surgery, every available player was dressed out in full pads today. After weeks of having a few out here and there, all are recovered enough to practice. Three games into the season, that's pretty good.
* SS Fon Ingram, who was suspended for the Vandy game, is practicing this week even though he cannot play in the SEC lidlifter. For the most part, he was being used on the scout team while senior Terrell Jackson, who will take his place as the backup SS, was working with the second team defense.
* DT Jerrell Powe appears to have moved up to second team status alongside Lawon Scott. The first team DTs are still Peria Jerry and Ted Laurent, who both got their first starts last week against Samford after being out with knee injuries. Obviously, the coaches saw improvement in Powe's play against Samford.
* Sophomore Allen Walker was working with the first team linebackers today in front of Lamar Brumfield, who had gotten the first three starts this season. Walker was hampered by a knee injury in August, but when he came back he had lost his starting job at SLB to Brumfield. It appears, if he has a good week of practice this week, he could get the nod against Vandy.
* Junior CB Marshay Green got his first start last week against Samford and apparently did well enough to keep the top spot ahead of senior Dustin Mouzon. Marshay ran with the top defense today.
* Transfer James Scott, a cornerback from Ohio State, is still not working out with the team yet. He has to get his paperwork settled before he is allowed to practice. 2008 will be his redshirt season.
Below are a few pics of Hardy at today's practice session.
|Photos by Chuck Rounsaville|