BEREA – Kevin Johnson continued to have perhaps the best camp of any offensive player to date.
Johnson caught several passes in the afternoon practice. His day would have been complete had he not been underthrown by Kelly Holcomb after breaking wide open on a deep route.
Coach Butch Davis had words of praise for Johnson, now in his fifth season.
"He has excellent hands-to-eye coordination," Davis said. "His ability to focus on the ball when he's getting jammed and hit by defensive backs is outstanding."
QUARTERBACK BATTLE: Neither Holcomb nor Tim Couch looked impressive during two-minute drills Tuesday. Holcomb, who was working with the second team, had a throw over the middle for tight end Darnell Sanders intercepted by free safety Chris Crocker. Couch completed a fourth-down pass to Dennis Northcutt, who was stopped short of the first-down marker by linebacker Kevin Bentley.
Couch probably flashed back to the 2000 season when he hit his right hand on the helmet of a defender after releasing a pass. Couch shook off the hit and continued on in the drill. Couch saw his 2000 season end after the seventh game when he broke a bone in his right hand after smacking it into the helmet of linebacker Ryan Taylor.
Holcomb was sharp on 7-on-7 drills. His best throw was to Dennis Northcutt on an out pattern, placing the ball perfectly over Northcutt's left shoulder. Lewis Sanders had excellent coverage on the play, which made the throw more impressive.
DEPTH CHART NOTES: The first depth chart is out. The biggest surprise is Melvin Fowler at left guard with the first unit instead of incumbent starter Barry Stokes, For now, Stokes is at right tackle with the second unit.
Couch and Holcomb are listed as co-starters. Steve Heiden is ahead of Darnell Sanders at tight end. Barry Gardner is holding off Andra Davis at middle linebacker. With Robert Griffith out because of a broken index finger, Michael Jameson is listed with the first team at strong safety.
Rookie free agent linebacker Sherrod Coates lined up with the first-team defense for the start of 11-on-11 drills. He took the place of Ben Taylor, who took it easy in the afternoon practice. Coates has been a surprise so far.
Andre Davis continues to miss practices with a sore right knee. When asked about his status today, Davis said he had to go to rehab. Don't expect to see him play Saturday in Nashville.