Head coach Kliff Kingsbury updated some injury situation when asked about guys missing from practice Wednesday:
- Gary Moore has missed a couple practices due to a "head injury" but is expected back tomorrow
- Thierry Nguema has missed a couple practice with an ankle sprain but is expected back tomorrow
- Tony Morales has been held out of a couple practices for "some maintenance issues" and is expected back later this week
- Breiden Fehoko was held out of practice today for maintenance and is expected back tomorrow
Players I noticed who returned recently:
- Justin Murphy
- Ian Sadler
- Derrick Willies
Depth Chart Almost Set
- "We're getting to that point where reps are starting to change and we're starting to figure out who's going to be the one's, the two's, the three's so that's an exciting time of the year. We'll have another scrimmage Saturday which should really finalize where everybody's going and then next week kind of get into our simulated game week."--Kingsbury
- Kingsbury added the two-deep was about 75% done: "There's a couple guys we want to see tackle again and put in some live game situations, but I think our coaching staff is still pretty comfortable about where we're at and starting to get the rotation set."
- Kingsbury on the two-deep at safety: "We'll figure it out. Jah'Shawn Johnson, Keenon Ward, Payton Hendrix, Des Smith...there's about five or six guys all kind of vying for position and after Saturday we'll have a clear picture."
- "They're making a lot of tackles. Those young guys--Jordyn Brooks, (John) Picone, (Brayden) Stringer--they been getting a ton of reps. (Luke) Stice, D'Vonta Hinton, (Malik) Jenkins... so it's a good group of about six or seven guys we feel real comfortable putting in there right now. Hopefully, That continues."
- Kingsbury on converted young DBs Jamile Johnson and Christian Taylor: "They've done real well. Christian especially. I thought he looked a little lost at times at safety, but he's had a great camp there at linebacker, looks the part, he's triggering and not afraid to stick his nose in there. That's been very encouraging."
- "Coach Gibbs recruited a great group of guys ready to come in and play immediately and all of them are ready to go. They could play anytime and we're just competing for the starting spot.--Hinton on the freshmen linebackers
- I asked Hinton about his health and pointed out he looks better than I've seen him in awhile: "Oh yeah, I feel way better. This is the best condition I've been in since I have been here. The strength program with coach (Rusty) Whitt was just amazing and I just feel great."
- Hinton on his position change to Mike linebacker since Dakota Allen left the program: "It's pretty much similar so not so much (to learn), I mean it's just little alignments here and there, but other than that at the end of the day you see ball and you gotta go tackle it."
Stopping the Run
- I asked Kingsbury point blank if the defense has shown him any indication it will be able to stop the run this season: "I think so. There's a lot more physicality inside, that's for sure. When you're talking about Breiden and Pipkins and Broderick (Washington) and Kolin Hill there on the end. These are bigger, stronger, physical guys that're just playing tougher football. Hopefully that continues."
- They (the defensive line) have been great. Ondre Pipkins, Breiden Fehoko... guys are staying in their gaps and let guys like myself, and Picone, and Stice, and Malik run around, make plays and do what we do best. They just stay in their gaps, take care of their responsibilities. The way Gibbs runs his defense if you do that you just make plays, make the tackle and it's pretty much said and done."--Hinton
- Cam Batson spoke with the media after practice and I took the opportunity to ask him about everybody naming him one of the top standouts of the offseason: "It's really just the heart. It (success) comes with heart, hard work and preparation. You know you have to prepare your body mentally and physically to go out there and take those snaps each and every day. Jakeem did that last year and I'm ready to fill in that role."
- I also asked him about winning the fastest man belt in the spring and which teammates try and challenge him for it: "Yeah, they try to challenge me, especially (Justin) Stockton, you know, Stock got some burners, he's real fast. All those guys, Keke (Coutee), we got some pretty fast guys. I just came out on top."
- Batson confirmed the punt return game will be more aggressive in terms of trying to return punts under new special teams coach Joe Robinson.
Noah Jones Rising
- "Noah Jones is a guy who has kind of stood out. He's really smart, he's picked up the scheme quickly, understands what we're trying to do defensively so he's another guy I could see getting some playing time early."--Kingsbury
- Kingsbury added Jones will play strongside defensive end and 3-tech defensive tackle.
- I also witnessed Kingsbury talking to Jones at the end of practice, encouraging him, clapping and telling him to keep it up, that he was "moving up".
- Kolin Hill on which freshmen defensive linemen are stepping up: "I would have to say Joe Wallace for sure. Noah is one of those guys, they know what they're doing out there so they have been doing real good at practice."
Scattershooting (RIP Blackie)
- This is a no-brainer, but Kingsbury said when all else fails put the ball in quarterback Patrick Mahomes' hands and let him make a play: "Yeah, probably give the ball to Pat, let him run around and make something happen. That seems to be our go-to play. He's kind of the bell-cow we're leaning on. We have some really talented wideouts, I think the offensive line is gelling, is going to be better, but yeah, anytime we're in trouble we kind of put it on his shoulders and let him go."
- I asked Kingsbury who has made the biggest gain from the beginning of camp to now: "I think the one I've seen is Ondre Pipkins. Just getting back into football shape, he's down to I think 305 today and he came in at about 335, so he's been athletic, he's been physical inside and he's been a real presence out there."
- I asked Kolin Hill if any offensive lineman has impressed him during fall camp: "Terence Steele. Quick step, he has good feet. One of those guys from my area, he's from San Antonio, so he's a good dude."
- Quinton White said he and Kisean Allen are currently the two starting gunners on special teams.
- Freshmen defensive backs Douglas Coleman and Des Smith teamed to force a turnover when Coleman stripped Derrick Willies of the ball and Smith recovered. You can watch the play in the third gif below.
How About Some Gifs?