August 20th First Practice Notes

Some familiar faces returned to the practice field today while the team and coaching staff get a break from the heat with today's unseasonable temperatures.

Today's weather was extremely pleasant, something you rarely say during August in New Orleans. I did not even break a sweat while out there so undoubtedly the team appreciated the low humidity and mild temperatures.

- Starting with injury news - DE Casey Blum, OG Nate Skold, LB Ray Oppman, DB Kendrick Banks, S Fudge Van Hooser, and WR Jamar Thomas did not practice today.

- LBs Darryl Farley, Cameron DeJean, and Logan Hamilton all practice today. With Mackey suspended having all these guys healthy is a boon for the defense.

- RB Orleans Darkwa is still in a boot and using crutches but he appears to be putting weight on the boot and using the crutches minimally. His status is still being evaluated day-to-day.

- During 1-on-1 drills the wide receivers looked pretty good. They are making catches with the defensive backs draped on them and Coach Keith Williams looked happy with the route running. Devin Boutte ran the route of the day when he completely fooled the defender on a hitch and go. Justin Shackleford made a great grab on a slant route with Darion Monroe all over him.

- The team practiced a lot of special teams today including onsides kicks. Derrick Strozier and Darion Monroe were back returning kicks, however there has been a lot of movement at the position. Any number of players could return kicks although I think the coaching staff would like Strozier back there.

- The offensive line continues to be shuffled around. At guard Rio Mares and Adam Skidmore rotated in at the right guard spot with the first team.

- During 11-on-11 drills the offense committed a lot of false start penalties. The main source of this issue was that the team was working on their hard counts and trying to draw the defense offsides.

- Freshman TE Josh Drum caught a lot of balls with the second team offense despite having a cast on his wrist/forearm.

- The team worked on down-and-distance situations, simulating how their live game offense would operate. During this drill the offense seemed out of sync considering what the team demonstrated at the scrimmage on Saturday. One bright area was Ryan Griffin did a nice job feeling pressure and stepping up in the pocket.

- The coaches continue to work Derrick Strozier in the slot. One formation today had both Strozier and RB Josh Rounds split out to one side.

- Sophomore DT Kenny Welcome was penetrating the offensive line nicely today. He disrupted a few running plays by collapsing the holes quickly.

- Freshman o-lineman Nathan Shienle was working at center with the second team and had some trouble with his shotgun snapping. One ball soared over the head of Devin Powell.

- Dante Butler had the run of the day, busting one off tackle and then bulldozing S Shakiel Smith.

The team's second practice today is being held at the Saints facility in Metairie. It is closed to the media and public.

Check back here tomorrow for another practice report as well as additional content. We are working on some features and getting some interviews so we can provide you with more diverse coverage of the Green Wave.

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