Wednesday practice report

There were plenty of freshmen getting an opportunity to show their stuff at practice today with Allen Bradford and Stafon Johnson running well and Taylor Mays looking pretty imposing as he begins to settle in at the free safety spot.

One of the things Coach Carroll traditionally does during an early season bye week is give the younger players a lot of reps, basically an extended audition, and this not only allows those players to get additional work but it also allows the coaches to see what they have in the young guys as we prepare for the remainder of the season. The previous two weeks were spent focused on getting the regulars ready for the opener so now those regulars get to rest a little this week while the young guys show what they can do.

We saw a lot of combinations at safety with Mays getting many of the reps along with Antwine Perez, Mozique McCurtis, Garrett Green and David Buehler. It was strange at one point to see Green and Buehler next to each other in the secondary with both wearing the jersey #14. It definitely looks at this point as if Mays is the heavy favorite to fill the role vacated by the injured Josh Pinkard.

The main thing that jumped out at me today was the tempo and enthusiasm of the players. It is the sense of confidence from a team that has faced down an opponent, come away victorious and now they know they have the ability to compete. With so many new faces, and new leaders, it was important for this team to find that confidence and there is no other way to get it besides going out and beating another football team. It's not that we lacked confidence before but every good team finds this point sooner or later and we seem to have taken a big step forward after the victory at Arkansas.

John David Booty came out today throwing strikes all over the place and he looked comfortable. He threw a beautiful ball to Vidal Hazelton along the right sideline and then later threw a pass while backpedaling and when the ball came down Fred Davis was coming out of his break for a 25 yard completion. It was kind of a playground throw and it was made by a quarterback who was feeling it today. We also saw a real nice deep ball from Mark Sanchez on a fade to David Ausberry against coverage from Jerry Williams. Sanchez also hit Mike Brittingham over the middle and Mike was able to hold onto the ball despite a solid hit from the safety, Mark later completed a crossing pass to Travon Patterson for 17 yards after rolling to his left. Patterson had another catch in the flat where he put one move on Rey Maualuga but then Rey reached out with his paw before Travon could get any further away and just swung him to the ground.

C.J. Gable had a terrific run during the team drill but most of the rushing activity today went to Bradford and Stafon. Bradford ran right over Justin Hart on one play, he just overpowered him. Stafon also showed some hard running, he's a big guy and today he reminded anybody who felt he could get buried on the depth chart that he definitely brings some skills to the table.

Other highlights:

* Kevin Ellison and Mike Morgan combined for a sack. Clay Matthews also had a sack.

* Kaluka Maiava and Jimmy Miller both took part in practice after sitting out recently with injuries.

* Vincent Joseph had an interception of a Sanchez pass that bounced off Patrick Turner.

* Jeff Schweiger, Oscar Lua, Kevin Thomas, Kyle Moore, Chauncey Washington, Ryan Powdrell and Travis Tofi were among those who did not take part in practice and watched from the sidelines.

* Don't forget the WeAreSC chat on Sunday, September 10th at 4:00pm with special guest Terrell Thomas.

* Rashaad Goodrum will take a medical redshirt after not taking part in any drills this fall. Rashaad got hurt last year against Stanford on a kickoff coverage play that was one of the more impressive displays of sacrificing your body that you will see. Good luck in your future Rashaad.


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