In the Rebs' first fall practice Monday, the heat was a factor. Tuesday, with partly cloudy skies and cooler temperatures, it was not.
The coaches took advantage of the reprieve from the heat with a grueling 2 1/2 hour practice with a pace that never slowed down.
"This weather was a blessing so we got after them pretty good. We want it to be hotter tomorrow, but today was fine," Coach Houston Nutt said.
Today, the defense won the overall battle, according to Nutt.
"The defense looked really fast. They were moving to that football and had two or three good turnovers," Houston continued. "One of them was caused by Greg Hardy, who hit the quarterback's arm as he was throwing. It was good to see Greg flying around in limited team drills.
"Marcus Temple intercepted two passes and returned both for touchdowns and that was good to see. D.T. Shackelford also had a pick and a nice return. The defense won today."
Nutt was pleased to see the last player of the 105 allowed in camp report and practice today - Tig Barksdale.
"Tig is out of shape a little and is playing catchup. He's basically learning where to shower, where to eat and the combination to his locker. He needs to take another step tomorrow," said Nutt. "He's got some discipline coming. We're going to give him a little every day and I'm going to have some counseling with him about drinking. You can't tear down your body like that the way we are going to work on this team. And you certainly can't get behind the wheel if you are drinking. We're going to get it straight."
The first two days have seen little movement on the two-deep depth chart from spring. The only significant movement has been two freshmen - LT Bobby Massie and OLB Joel Kight - already running with the second team.
"We may have a little bit of movement the second day of pads, but not a lot. Not much at all," Nutt said. "We will go in shoulder pads and shorts tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday and the first day of full pads will be Friday."
Nutt was asked about the status of LB Mike Marry.
"I'm going to try to talk to him again tonight, but I don't know anything new at this point," Nutt stated.
* Those who attended practice got their first look at Punter Tyler Campbell in "live" action with a rush. He handled it well. He has good hands in handling the snap and gets his kicks off quickly. Tyler obviously has a strong leg, but he needs to work on his consistency. . . The surprise of the punting drills may have been Davd Hankins, who kicked off in the Cotton Bowl when Justin Sparks could not. He hit two beautiful punts with good hang time and were 45-yards plus in distance. . . Justin Sparks, at this juncture, is clearly number one because of his consistency and comfort with a rush. . . There have been no kickoff drills yet so we have not gotten to see freshman Andrew Ritter in action.
* Sparks will also handle the holding duties and in practice today looked smooth in a short field goal session. He and DS Preston Powers seem to have good chemistry and timing carried over from spring training.
* The punt team will be similar in makeup from last year - safety, FB and LB bodies who can slow the rush down and get downfield. The top candidates? LB Lamar Brumfield, FS Kendrick Lewis, SS Johnny Brown, FB Reggie Hicks, MLB Jason Jones, FB Andy Hartman, OLB Allen Walker and OLB Patrick Trahan.
* Nutt walked up during practice and, out of the blue, made one remark before walking off. "I think Craig Drummond is starting to turn the corner," he said. Good news if the big frosh DE is. He certainly looks the part.
* The DB coaches are looking for some help from the young corners and it appears they have a shot to get some from either Charles Sawyer or Ryan Campbell. Both have good movement and both are a couple of inches taller than the Rebel starters. Certainly a good sign, if not immediately, for the future.
* Who has been a major surprise of camp thus far? None other than fith-year senior DT LaMark Armour. LaMark is finally healthy after struggling with a knee injury for over a year and he has built his body up to the 275-pound level. He's currently in the four-man DT rotation, which is somewhat of a surprise. For now, that leaves sophomore Justin Smith as the fifth guy in the rotation.
* Back on the subject of corner, a player who is gaining more and more trust from the coaches is junior Jeremy McGee. He's still learning his craft, but Jeremy is as competitive as anyone on the team. With his speed and competitive nature, he's got a chance to impact the team.
* McGee's running buddy on the number two defense, Marcus Temple, intercepted two passes - one on a deflection - and returned both of them all the way for TDs. CB Coach Chris Vaughn said in three-corner situations, Temple is the guy for now, but McGee is closing hard.
* In three wide receiver sets, junior Markeith Summers seems to be the third receiver in most instances. Markeith joins Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge when the play calls for three WR. Lionel Breaux is the man in four WR sets.
* QB Jevan Snead seems to be expanding his targets more this fall - throwing to more areas of the field, especially underneath to the tight ends. It appears that Jevan's vision has improved and he has confidence to throw anywhere at any time. That will just make him more dangerous.
* The second team defense drew Nutt's praise from today's practice. They are: DE Emmanuel Stephens, DTs Jerrell Powe and Armour, DE Greg Hardy/Gerald Rivers, OLBs Joel Kight and Brumfield, MLB Jason Jones, CBs McGee and Temple, SS Fon Ingram and FS Derrick Herman. Not bad, not bad at all.
* The two offensive line today consisted of LT Bobby Massie, LG Alex Washington, C Mark Jean-Louis, RG Brandon Green and RT Logan Clair.
* It was encouraging to see Hardy getting in a little bit of 11-on-11 work. He did not in the opening day but he got sprinkled in some today and looked good, real good.
* Frosh RB Rodney Scott has, as thought when he was recruited, some shake. He can cut quickly and seems to have good vision and instincts on when to cut to get the most out of a run. Good prospect.
* Frosh MLB D.T. Shackelford had an interception on a tipped ball and had a nice return off the pick, showing good speed in the process.
* Who is the player on the team who seems to get a little lost in the shuffle but is a stalwart in the coaches' eyes? DE Marcus Tillman. Why? He's not flashy. Like FB Jason Cook from a year ago, Till doesn't get the attention but the coaches definitely know his value. Perhaps the most consistent player on the squad.
Tuesday Practice Report
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