There was a decidedly training camp feel to practice on Sunday. In Mike Johnson's first practice as interim head coach, the team spent the first hour doing individual drills, and, as he said in his teleconference and in the post game, preaching fundamentals. Coaches were vocal all day, talking about footwork and technique.
The team still had a 7 on 7, which was mostly uneventful aside from a great pass threaded to Anthony Barr from Kevin Prince that dropped in between two defenders. But the real show was the 11 on 11. The tempo from play to play was much, much quicker, and there was an emphasis from the entire coaching staff to get guys to run between plays. Part of that is definitely the team trying to instill a training camp atmosphere, but there also seemed to be a much greater overall emphasis on tempo than there had been from the coaching staff in the past.
It also seemed like a more relaxed practice, despite the better tempo. At one point during the 11 on 11, Mike Harris tripped over himself while pulling out in front of Johnathan Franklin and did a somersault. Angus McClure pointed up to the construction tower next to Pauley Pavilion and shouted "Sniper!".
Prince and Brehaut split most of the reps in the 11 on 11, but Brett Hundley also saw a few snaps. Brehaut looked pretty good throwing the ball, and seems to be shaking off more of the rust that accumulated since his injury.
The specialists (kickers, snappers, and assorted holders) actually ran sprints on the side at one point in practice, which is a major switch from their normal practice routine.
After practice, most of the team (aside from Prince, Joe Fauria, and Johnathan Franklin) ran sprints to get some further conditioning.
Wade Yandall and Darius Bell were both not at practice. Yandall is still nursing a concussion, and Bell had to attend to a family matter.
Jim Mastro was not at practice, but he's expected to come back. He was set to meet with Mike Leach early this week about a position with Washington State.
The last fifteen minutes of practice were spent with scout team offense playing against scout team defense, and the defense really seemed to dominate. Despite playing in shorts and shells, there was a good deal more contact in that period than there has been in practice this year. Roosevelt Davis and Sam Tai both got some nice hits in, and at one point Jerry Rice Jr. got knocked flat on his back.
Torian White looked pretty good handling Tai on the edge in pass protection.
Tony Dye, Sean Westgate, and Alex Mascarenas remained out.
Practice Notes, Johnson Quotes
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