Football: Thursday practice update

Thursday morning's practice was a lot like Wednesday's. Even though the players were in full pads they were not doing any full contact drills. The highlights from the team scrimmage in the morning were mostly good defensive plays.

Nick Lyle had a leaping interception in the end zone but came up limping on the play. He was on crutches for the afternoon practice. Lorenzo Parker made a great break on a pass for a diving interception.

The quarterbacks continue to be very even in ability but today Jay Cutler had the two best looking long passes. The first was just out of the reach of Keith Williams but the other hit Brandon Smith in stride for a touchdown. The afternoon practice was like Wednesday's without the rain. Once again they had a scrimmage with chains and Coach Johnson calling penalties.

The afternoon's practice had several spectators lined up along the fence at Natchez Trace watching the scrimmage and cars driving by honking their horns. Before the scrimmage started they worked on kickoff and return teams. Greg Johnson, Chuck Folino, and Abtin Iranmanesh were doing the kicking and they all showed very strong legs, backing the return men off of the astroplay surface.

During the scrimmage Cheron Thompson had a interception in which he jumped right in front of the receiver to pick off the pass. Shortly after a run play wide receiver Jason Caldwell was knocked silly. He tried to get up but immediately fell back down. The training staff finally got him on his feet and he appeared to be okay. The offense moved the ball fairly well during the scrimmage but had problems finishing the drives.

In five possessions the offense had 1 interception, three field goal attempts, and one touchdown. The touchdown came on a run from Jason Bourque. On the field goal attempts all four kickers got an attempt, Patrick Johnson, Chuck Folino, Abtin Iranmanesh, and Greg Gulinson. Johnson and Folino appear to be the most consistent and Johnson appears to have the strongest leg for both punting and field goals.

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