Today's practice was pretty standard and it seems like the 2-deep is beginning to become more concrete, however there is still a lot of movement at WR and on the defensive side of the ball. The team was in helmets and shoulder pads so there was no live hitting.
- In terms of injuries I did not get a full list because most of the injured players were not on the practice field. Going off of that information DB Kendrick Banks, RB Orleans Darkwa, LB Ray Oppman, S Fudge Van Hooser, OG Nate Skold, and WR Jamar Thomas did not dress out.
- During WR/DB 1-on-1 drills Ryan Grant made a nice grab and subsequently started getting in the DBs faces to remind them of it. It felt like the competition got heated during these drills.
- Derrick Strozier had the catch of the day when he leaped up and snagged a ball on a fly route while CB Jordan Batiste was all over him. The coaches have been lining up Strozier at WR a fair amount.
- Freshman WR Devon Breaux was back returning kicks today. Strozier was fielding punts. I've said this a few times but it is not clear who will be the #1 guy at this spot since they seemingly switch it up each practice.
- The coaches have been splitting out TEs a lot. This could be good for blocking on plays where the RB goes out in the flats, which is something they have practiced a fair amount. They've also ran pass plays to the TE in this situation.
- WR Xavier Rush had a couple of nice grabs today. After Ryan Grant, it looks like there will be consistent rotation to see who sticks.
- The offense was working on throwing the seam route today to both TEs and WRs.
Quotes from Coach Johnson:
On the defense dragging today: "Well since I'm an offensive coach I'd say the offense just came out, we looked a lot better [laughs]. They probably were a little bit, yesterday they really did good. I think I'm starting to learn this team little bit more. When we get outside the defense sometimes let us win, but they were alright, they were in their right assignments, they did good."
On Lazedrick Thompson stepping up: He practiced good...his knee flames up every once in awhile. He's doing well, I like that kid, I like him a lot. He's a little bit unknown...he's so powerful, he's so strong. A couple days ago he had a practice where he carried two guys into the endzone. We don't have too many players that look like him."
On the safeties: "They're starting to look better. I'm looking at Shak [Shakiel Smith], he had a pretty good day today. Kyle [Davis] is playing better. If I have any problems I'll put D-Mo [Darion Monroe] in there, he can play anywhere and do anything, he's my ace in the hole. On if he has a short leash with these guys: "Very, very. I have a short leash on everyone, except the quarterback [laughs]. Back to Shakiel Smith: I just need him around the pile. I need him hustling more, I need him capping guys off. If not I got Walker right there I'll put him in, or if Walker's not there I put Davis in, I got Darion Monroe. I can put Monroe anywhere, might even put him at WR a little bit."
(note: I think Coach was joking about that last tidbit, although it wouldn't shock me. Monroe has not seen any reps at WR to this point.)
On possibly moving some corners to safety: "We're always thinking, we got personnel groups to do all those. The team is going to throw the ball a lot more, play a lot of man to man. We can definitely put Monroe on an inside guy, we can put Batiste and Doss and Travis and put them all on the field together. That's why I want the flexibility of practicing like this."
August 22nd First Practice Report
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