The theme of the day's work was situations, and that began right up front with the special team. A great deal of work was done on onside kicks, both offensively and defensively.
Kickoff returns were also practiced with Kay Jay Harris, Jason Colson, Brian King and Adam Jones all getting the chance to return kicks. Jones was the most impressive of the group, showing the ability to make tacklers miss while still moving at full speed.
The ups and downs of camp were aptly demonstrated by Aaron Neal, who had a bit of an off day. He, along with several other players, drew some attention from the coaches for not going full out all the time. Head coach Rich Rodriguez commented after practice that he thought the team was a bit tired, but that it was nothing compared to what teams have been like after two full weeks of two a days in seasons past.
The units then broke up for four periods of individual work, followed by some split session practice. The linemen and running backs butted heads on inside run, while the receivers and defensive backs went head to head in one on one work. Erick Phillips continued to show improvement, as he ran very well on the inside run drills and put some big hits on linebackers and defensive linemen.
The team then reassembled for skeleton drills, where scores were kept for the remainder of the day. The offense and the defense competed through the rest of practice, which the defense ended up winning. That resulted in some pushups for the offense at the end of the day.
Rasheed Marshall continued his strong camp, as he threw the ball well and make good decisions. The highlight was a 40 yard TD pass to Neal during the skeleton drills. Charles Hales was again plagued by a few bad reads, but he has improved his performance since last year.
* * *
Tory Johnson made a couple of nice catches again and has really shown great hands in the last few practices. On the defensive side, Adam Jones is beginning to become more consistent, and had several pass breakups during skeleton work.
* * *
Officials were used for the final part of practice, which was full 11 on 11. The offense worked on protecting a lead while the defense, playing from behind, went for the stop or the turnover.
The first tema offense was mostly successful in grinding the clock out, but the defense was successful on a number of occasions.
* * *
There was another twist to end of the practice conditioning. Five offensive and defensive linemen were picked to try to catch punts from Todd James. For every drop, the entire team had to run a length of the field sprint. This process was then repeated with fullbacks and tight ends, but the "punishment" for a drop was only 40 yards.
Interestingly enough, the linemen only dropped two punts, while the fullbacks and tight ends dropped three.
* * *
Rodriguez said that he was being extra cautions with players like Frazier and Addae, because he knows what they can do. He wants to make sure they are fully healed and ready to go for Wisconsin.