"The spirit and enthusiasm were excellent and we threw the ball much better. We were able to work good vs. good for the last 20-30 minutes and I thought we really benefited from being able to do that. It was an upbeat, positive practice."
On the injury front, tailback/wide receiver Ryan Brewer is still out with an ankle sprain; defensive end Jason Capers is out with an ankle sprain; tailback Gonzie Gray is out with an ankle sprain. Wide receiver Andrea Gause is back practicing after being slowed with a sore knee last week and offensive tackle Jeff Barnes is practicing despite having his left wrist wrapped due to a sprain he suffered against LSU on Oct. 19.
Skip said that during the open week, the offensive line was able to get healthier and the quarterbacks were able to devote some time to getting more reps in the team passing game. "Although our quarterbacks aren't that young, they are inexperienced for the most part," said Skip. "Corey may be older than me (starting quarterback Corey Jenkins is 26), but he's still relatively inexperienced."
Skip said that with Brewer out for Saturday's game, the coaching staff has looked at inserting Michael Ages, Andrea Gause and Thez Robinson into the slot receiver position.
As far as the kickoff and punt return situation, Skip said the past two weeks had been like open tryouts. "With Ryan being hurt and the difficulty we had in the return game against LSU, it's almost been like tryouts," said Skip. "I look over there and we've got two lines of people moving in and out. It's like we're going into the game without our security blanket in Ryan Brewer."
When asked about how coaches convey a team's injury situation during the course of the week, Skip said: "At the beginning of the week when you look at the injury list, you've got to go ahead and make plans that that particular player may not be available. As a staff, you've got to start putting plans together as if that player is not going to recover and be able to play. Now, if that player is able to go, then that's a bonus. But, I don't think you can always count on the injured player all of a sudden being ready to play."
Skip said that Aryhel Freeman, a true freshman quarterback from East Point, Ga., was doing a good job with the scout team. "I'm anxious to see how Aryhel does in spring practice when I can have a chance to evaluate his decision-making," said Skip. "He's a fine looking player and has a great attitude."