Monday Morning Practice

The team has a strong morning practice Monday, with the offense more consistent in its passing game. It helps when you get back the services of <b>Tab Perry</b>, who practiced for the first time in full pads...

Player Status Update:

-- Cornerback Jebiaus Brown was fully dressed and practiced.

-- Offensive guard Eyoseph Efseaff did sprints but didn't practice.

-- Tight end J.J. Hair sat out practice.

-- Tight ends Matt Raney and Keith Carter practiced.

-- Linebacker Tim Warfield ran laps around the field.

-- Justin London was down to one crutch.

-- Defensive ends Brigham Harwell and Kyle Morgan walked easily.

The team generally had a very good practice, particularly the offense. Drew Olson and his receivers consistently hooked up. Tab Perry, on his first day in full pads, had a good morning, catching a couple of touchdown passes in the corner of the endzone. Junior Taylor might have had his best day of practice of fall, catching a couple of touchdown passes, while making a great reception down the field, and turning it up for 40 yards. Marcedes Lewis looks unstoppable in the redzone.

In one drill the offensive linemen went one-on-one against the defensive linemen in a pass rush situation. Generally the offensive line won most of the battles. Paul Mociler contained Bruce Davis; Ed Blanton did well at keeping Justin Hickman at bay; Mike McCloskey and C.J. Niusulu alternated in beating each other; Steve Vieira generally beat contained Kevin Brown; Freshman offensive guard Shannon Tevaga did will in containing the younger DLs; Brian Abraham and William Snead took turns in beating each other; and Robert Chai dominated the younger DLs he went up against.

The two players vying for the open right corner position were beaten a few times, even though it was more a matter of great throws by Olson and very good catches by the receivers.

Aaron Whittington saw some reps with the ones at outside linebacker, while Wesley Walker did some time at middle linebacker.

Freshman defensive back Michael Norris worked out with the wide receivers, in a white jersey.

Walk-on defensive tackle Charles Thompson had a few reps with the first- and second-team defense.

Karl Dorrell's post-practice comments:

"Would you be surprised if I said it was another very good practice? We keep growing steps. The offense is coming into its own. We scrimmaged goal line, and pass under pressure. Our defense is getting better with our blitzes and getting to our quarterback, so that was part of the scrimmage situation today. The offense did well in the redzone and goal line. In those areas that you need to be good for an offense, if you want to score some points, you want to be good down there. So it's good that that type of development and success is happening for our offense. With the defense, the last part of the scrimmage today was a period to try to get the ball back. The offense is trying to milk the clock and stay on the field to get the victory and the defense has to get the ball back, and they won every series with the ones and twos. And that's what you have to do. You have to practice those situations when you're tired. That's what it's all about, in the fourth quarter, when you have to get the ball back, got to be able to play some defense. It's a good see-saw battle at practice on the field and I'm excited about that. We're going to develop ourselves to be a pretty good team."

Is Michael Norris a receiver now?

"We're experimenting with him there, but no. He's played that in high school. I want to give him a shot and see how he measures up over there. And we'll see from there. He'll be there today, all day. Then he'll go back to defense."

Was Wesley Walker playing inside?

"He's playing a little middle linebacker for us. He's our SAM, and he does a nice job at SAM, and he knows SAM. But we're just trying to cover our bases because of the guys that were injured at our MIKE position. He has the most experience of being an inside and outside guy. We're getting him ready in case those guys that are injured aren't ready."

Will you possibly move one of the safeties up to a linebacker position?

"No. I don't want to do that. We're not going to do that. That would be a totally new world for those guys. I think its best to utilize the linebackers, who are used to defensive reads and keys, to be moved around."

So you used a lot of nickel stuff today with Eric McNeal?

"Yeah. He's the nickel backer in that scenario. He and Dennis Keyes are. But they're not going to move to linebacker. That's only in passing situations."

What examples do you see of growth in the offense?

"There's more consistency. The running game is looking better. Guys are finishing blocks. In the passing games, guys are making more plays. Tab had a good day as his first practice in pads. He had a couple of nice plays today. The players are excited to have him back. Marcedes had a few nice plays today. The guys that are supposed to make the plays are making the plays."

It seemed like Junior Taylor had a good day, on the day that Perry returned…

"Well, you have to keep them all on their toes. There are some capable players that can help us. He knows how good Tab is. He wants to make sure his presence is felt in the offense, too. That's healthy competition."

Are you concerned that Perry getting cleared could drag on?

"He's worked his tail off to get to this point. I don't want to pull the rug out from underneath him. Even though there is a possibility he wouldn't be ready, we're optimistic he will be. We feel he has a very good case. That's why we've put him in the position he's in right now."

Was Charles Thompson getting reps with the defense?

"With the ones and the twos, yes. We're trying to get more depth in there. We're not as deep at tackle as we are at end. He's big old body. We wanted to see if he has a chance to help us. We're going to play a lot of defensive linemen. That's just the nature of where we're at because of our experience. We're giving guys an opportunity to showcase what they can do."

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