The heat was evident today as several players succumbed to the hot weather. The staff continued to work situational offense and defense. George Payne had another solid practice, ripping off several long runs against the first team defense. Payne and Ito will prove to be a very nice one two combination this season.
True freshman corner Demetrius Market is having a strong camp and pushing for playing time. He is consistently getting his hands on the football. He has quickness and recovery speed you just can't teach. Juco transfer Allen Fails has seemingly found a home at the Wolf hybrid DE-OLB position. He has been impressive enough behind Darian Yancey to allow the coaches to give JaBorree Poole some work at the Bandit end position behind Paw Thigpen. This helps our depth as the staff has had to work Derrick Dixon inside some because we are so thin as defensive tackle.
True freshmen continue to get reps on the second offensive line with Jacob Fleming,Hayden Mcmahon, Drake Dorbeck and Oliver Bates out with minor dings. Wyatt Richthofen and Arvin Fletcher have received a lot of work at guard this week with the second offensive line. True freshman Cru Birdyshaw has worked extensively as the second team left tackle. Obviously we need these injured guys back soon, but the work these youngsters are getting will pay dividends later.
Reid Rials had a nice practice today from his slot position. He caught a shallow crossing route and out ran the secondary to the end zone. Rials runs even better than I initially thought. he will be fun to watch for years to come.
Lets us touch on the Branton Autry situation. It appears that our staff had done everything necessary to get this kid here and ready to go. Autry had a game jersey ready and locker set up. It appears that the university administration had issue taking anyone from Baylor after all the fall out from the sex scandal disaster over in Waco. Personally I see a kid that was on Baylor's campus only a few months. He is relatively local haling from the Mobile area. He has a cousin on the team in Ito Smith. He comes from a good family and he maintains a high GPA. It just appears to me that this thing could have been handled better. A quick back ground check with authorities at Baylor should have been all that was needed. Having Autry here would have not only strengthened our offensive line, but strengthened our defensive line as well, allowing Will Freeman to help out a thin defensive line. The way this all played out seems unnecessary and personally very frustrating. The staff was counting on Autry being here, as well as the transfer from Arkansas. They were going to count both of their scholarships forward to the 17 class. Meaning that we only needed to sign 2-3 more offensive linemen in this class. I am not sure what happened with the kid from Arkansas. Heard he was here a few weeks and left. I am touching on this to show how it changes our recruiting philosophy for offensive line going forward. I counted nine scholarship offensive linemen that will be left after the 16 season. With Aurty and the Ark kid not coming, the staff has to get it in gear and sign at least 5-6 offensive linemen in this class to get our numbers right at that position going forward. It is nothing to panic over, but affects not only how the staff will recruit the oline position, but may change the numbers at other positions. The thought going forward with recruiting offensive line is obviously the staff will be looking for greater numbers, but now will most likely need a juco or two. Particularly at left tackle. I also think that at least one of the defensive tackles we have on the commitment board will end up on the offensive line when they arrive. So we have at least one offensive lineman committed. The staff will need to identify 4-5 more to shore up depth.