Starting linebackers Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy both sat out while middle linebacker Elijah Hodge, who was in full gear, got limited action. Casillas was working on his conditioning on the sidelines as well as riding a stationary bike. In their places were Jaevery McFadden, James Kamoku, and Culmer St. Jean.
With seniors Kurt Ware and Jamal Cooper being held out of practice, fellow senior Brandon Kelly got reps with the first team defensive line, and was joined by Matt Shaughnessy, Mike Newkirk, and Jason Chapman. Nick Hayden also worked in with the first group.
About mid-way through practice, the first team offense and defense went against each other with varying results.
Shane Carter made a leaping interception of a Tyler Donovan pass. However the fifth-year senior came back just a few plays later and ran for what would have been about a 10-yard gain after the defense had lost outside containment.
Freshman corner Aaron Henry flashed in cover skills during this period by breaking up an Allan Evridge pass intended for Xavier Harris. The first team offensive line, during the practice, consisted of Gabe Carimi at left tackle, Andy Kemp at right guard, Marcus Coleman at center, Kraig Urbik at right guard and Eric Vanden Heuvel at right tackle. Danny Kaye and John Moffitt rotated with Carimi and Kemp.
On the first play of the "inside" drill, which matches the running backs, tight ends, and offensive line against the front seven of the defense, Carimi went up against Hayden and put the senior on his back.
Also during the drill, Shaughnessy showed his incredible discipline by keeping contain on a bootleg by the offense, which would have resulted in a loss of yards in a game situation. Freshman running back Zach Brown showed a nice burst to the outside during this period as well.
During the "skelly" portion of practice, in which the offensive skill players are pitted against the linebackers and defensive backs, Allan Evridge showed excellent touch on a couple passes. The first, intended for Andy Crooks, landed just out of the reach of the junior tight end. However, Evridge came back and hit a wide open Garret Graham for what would have been a touchdown of more than 50 yards.
Freshmen receiver Kyle Jefferson returned to practice and showed his quickness and soft hands on a reception across the middle.
Senior Paul Hubbard also continued his strong camp including a nice 20 yard grab from Donovan.
The defense and the offense both had their moments during the red-zone portion of practice. Safety Kim Royston broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Travis Beckum, but Donovan came back with a bullet to Luke Swan for a touchdown. Later he took some heat off the ball and lofted another touchdown to Swan in the back of the end zone.
Evridge was a little high on a couple of his throws, but did finish strong by throwing touchdowns on the last two plays of the session.
The team will retake the field at 7:30 tonight for its second practice.