Thursday Practice Heats Up

The second straight day of hot temperatures had the coaches a bit happier, and saw the offense make some progress, especially in the passing game.

Thursday's session was held in full pads, but fetured only limited contact. As usual, special teams work opened the afternoon session before the players split up for individual drills.

These sessions took up the first 15 periods of practice before the units reassembled for 11-on-11 scrimmaging, again limited contact.

With the Wisconsin game only 16 days away, emphasis was again put on situational work rather than continuous scrimmaging. The passing game garnered the bulk of attention, and showed some sparks. Rasheed Marshall threw the ball very well, and showed increased accuracy on his long passes, which were much more in evidence than in previous practice sessions.

Aaron Neal again stood out, with he and Rasheed seeming to develop some of the chemistry that existed between Rasheed and Miquelle Henderson last year. While there are still a number of receivers in the mix, Neal has become one of Rasheed's go-to targets.

The coaches continued to empasize the improtance of the receivers turning and getting the ball upfield after receptions rather than dancing in place or running toward the sidelines. Neal has been much improved at this phase of the game.

Henderson did take a few reps with the first team, but is still not in shape to go on every play. Jubal Thomas took most of the first team snaps along with Neal, John Pennington, and Dee Alston.

Again conspicuous by his absence was wide receiver Travis Garvin. Head coach Rich Rodriguez became a bit testy, and understandably so, when repeatedly queried about Garvin's situation, and would only say that he was having some personal issues and that he preferred to "talk about someone that's playing".

The walking wounded list was a bit lengthier, as Lance Frasier and Vince Beamer were out with hamstring injuries and Fred Blueford continued to be hampered by a shoulder. Jahmile Addae was still in a green jersey, but is espected to be full speed by this time next week. Frasier's spot was taken by Thandi Smith, who has quietly been having a solid camp at the backup wide corner spot.

Grant Wiley had a scary moment when he tumbled to the turf on a field goal. He apparently hurt his knee, but the injury was not thought to be serious. Also, wide receiver John Scott has moved to defensive back.

Jason Colson again ran the ball well and Quincy Wilson was also impressive in work on the ground.

The temperature was in the mid nineties on the field, and while it seemed to be taking its toll on the players a little, the coaches were mostly pleased with the overall work being done. Rodriguez commented that after watching the film from yesterday's scrimmage he was pleased with the effort.

"There was not as much loafing as there usually is in the first scrimmage," he noted.

Practice continues on Friday with a pair of sessions, which constitutes the last of two a days.

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