The defense was the clear winner in two-minute drills during the five practices of mini-camp. Each drill ended with an interception. Rookie corner Michael Lehan and linebacker Ben Taylor made the picks on Thursday.
Coach Butch Davis surprised the players by canceling the afternoon practice. He then took the entire team bowling in Berea. Asked whether he was ready to name a starting quarterback, Davis joked: "We'll name one at the bowling alley this afternoon." The truth is, Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb both played well over the five practices. Neither did anything to jump ahead of the other or to fall hopelessly behind. Davis will probably wait until the preseason to choose.
Davis was very pleased with the off-season turnout. He said Andra Davis, Steve Heiden, Anthony Henry, Jamel White, Alvin McKinley, Lewis Sanders and Ryan Tucker were the hardest workers in the off-season program. Forty-one of 54 players were in the program at least 80 percent of the time, Davis said.
Defensive end Courtney Brown (knee) did not accomplish as much in mini-camp as Davis hoped he would, but the coach remains hopeful Brown will be ready to go at the start of training camp. Brown is recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
With all the attention given to left cornerback Anthony Henry, a player who has snuck in under the radar - not the coach's radar, is Lewis Sanders. For now, Sanders will play the right side in nickel defense. "He's fighting for a starting job," Davis said.
Kevin Bentley, Barry Gardner and Ben Taylor were the starting linebackers most of mini-camp. Don't count out second-year player Andra Davis. Butch Davis might want to get Gardner and Andra Davis on the field at the same time. Andra Davis said he could play the weak side or strong side.
Rookie center Jeff Faine improved his shotgun snaps as the week went along. He was snapping some of them low, but was putting the ball where the quarterbacks wanted it by Wednesday afternoon.