Tuesday Football Practice Report

The team gets rained on Tuesday in practice. Head Coach Karl Dorrell provides an update on the status of some of the injured, talks about how <b>Justin London</b> has gutted it out, and what challenge Stanford represents...

With the team in pads and shorts, the rain started to come down fairly heavily halfway through practice Tuesday.

The team has a reservation for Pauley Pavilion today, anticipating the weather would be pretty bad.

Head Coach Karl Dorrell commented after practice:

"It was a good practice today. We got a lot of work in, and just in time with the storm coming in. The kids are in pretty good spirits. As I said yesterday, we still have a lot going on for the season. It's a big week this week. We're excited about this opportunity this week."

Was Dennis Keyes able to practice?

"Keyes was back out and able to do some things. He did the arthrogram test on Monday, and they came back negative. So his shoulder is in pretty good shape. It's not as strong as the other one at this time, but we think he'll be okay by game time. He'll definitely give us the depth with Chris Horton being out.

"Also, Justin Hickman practiced a little today.  He's way ahead of schedule. He looked pretty good in the individual drills. I see the likelihood for him playing this week would be good.

And we had a small insignificant injury with Brandon Breazell. He had a dislocated thumb, that was then set back in place.  We're going to take an x-ray to make sure there was nothing else going on with it, but he ought to be fine too."

Receivers can play with those thumbs, right?

"Oh, yeah. I've had many. In fact, I still have a bad thumb. You can definitely play. And play golf, too."

Is there anyway of knowing if the team has put everything that happened in the game behind them?

"The attitude today showed that there are no lingering effects from it. We had two days to get over that. We're back up on the horse. The attitude is focusing on Stanford, and getting ourselves better defensively, and correcting the issues offensively. We've had very good special teams play in the last few weeks, and we want to keep building on that. There are four games left, a lot to play for, and we're right in the middle of the pack. We want to do a great thing this weekend."

With a young defense, is putting it behind them a concern?

"No. We can't use the youth anymore. We've had some guys who have played for seven, eight weeks now. We've done some good things this past weekend, with more production putting pressure on the quarterback. We had a few sacks in this past weeks' game. We had some interceptions. We had an opponent not rush for over 200 yards on us. Those are things we're building on. Stanford throws the ball very well, so we're going to work on our passing defense as well. We've made some improvements in certain areas. It's hard to tell in the overall production of a game, when you still see an offense get 400 or 500 yards. But there's progress being made and we're building on those things."

This season, Stanford has scored early and taken control of games. Is that anything you can guard against?

"We're going to try to. We're going to go out there and try to do something positively offensively, to get ourselves going much faster than we have the last couple of weeks. Defensively, we'd want another fast start for our defense, to have some success early, and then be able to sustain that kind of continuity during the course of the game. Those are big keys in this game. Stanford has a very good defense, and it will be tough for our offense to execute against them. Their offense has been explosive at times. They have some very good skill on the outside receivers, a very good tight end, a good quarterback, a good back. So they have the ability to strike and put points on you. We're going to do our job in terms of getting ourselves started early and getting an opportunity to do something early in this football game."

How hurt, really, is Justin London?

"He's still pretty sore. That ankle injury is going to last the whole season. We knew that when he had that injury. It's an 8 to 12 week injury, normally. It's not going to be normal for the rest of the season."

If you had linebacker depth, in a perfect world, would he rest more?

"If we had the depth, yes. But we just don't have the luxury of that depth right now. With Tim Warfield getting hurt, and Dan Nelson new to our systems, we've put Wesley Walker in there to help play that position, but it's hard. You're running out of people."

Has Justin been tough about it, like you'd like to see?

"He is. It's a very difficult injury to play with. Not a lot of people can play with it. And he has chosen to help this football team in the best way that he can by gutting through it and being a positive factor for our defense. That's something to commend him about. We know that he's frustrated. He's not playing the style of football he's accustomed to playing. And we understand that, too. He's hanging in there."

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