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Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday practice, scrimmage tomorrow

They're scrimmaging tomorrow at the stadium. Tommy Tuberville called it a "midterm" and said they'll have SEC officials there and will run the 40-second clock so it will be like a live game situation. It's closed to the media and public. I'll be writing about that tomorrow as well as some other stuff, some of which I've mentioned below.

* The news coming out of today's practice is another practice fight. I didn't see this one, but I saw the aftereffects. Running back John Douglas and freshman safety Marcus Jemison got into a scrap. The other writers said it broke up pretty quickly, but Jemison apparently twisted his ankle in the scrape. He needed trainers' assistance to leave the field, not putting any weight on the ankle, and was fitted with an air cast and crutches before he got on a nearby medical van and left practice early.

I don't want to overdramatize these things -- which is what I think has happened with the Furr thing, when there was a lot more to it than a fight -- but the fact of this particular fight is they've got another player injured (Jemison) or gone (Furr) at a position where they're not especially deep. Not the end of the world in either case, but it's not especially productive, either.

* While that stuff was happening in a running game drill, I was standing behind the end zone watching one-on-one passing drills. I was standing about 10 feet behind Paul Rhoads and enjoyed listening to him coach his DBs. He has a positive, instructive way about his coaching that's different than a lot of defensive coaches you'll see.

* A couple highlights from passrush drill (I thought the offensive line was having its best day in the drill midway through, but the d-linemen started narrowing the gap toward the end):
*Zach Clayton was back in practice and looked good -- strong and quick -- in his reps.
* I thought the one rep between Sen'Derrick Marks and Tyronne Green today was a draw. I talked to Green about how their matchups are drawing a crowd and he seemed amused by that, although he said he hadn't noticed.
* Jake Ricks looked good in a rep against Ryan Pugh, where he beat him with a swim move.
* Lee Ziemba did a good job against Raven Gray forcing him behind and past the quarterback and then pushing him away and shoving him after the rep almost into a team of high school kids who were watching practice today.
* Gray, however, probably had his best day in the drill so far, getting in close to the QB on other reps.
* Byron Isom dominated Darrell Roseman on a rep.

Highlights from 11-on-11, as they occurred. The top play was a Burns bomb to Rod Smith:
* Antonio Coleman blew past Lee Ziemba around right end for what would have been a sack on one of the first plays. (they apparently also got into a little shoving match that was quickly broken up shortly after the Douglas-Jemison fight).
* Walt McFadden had a nice pass breakup on a wobbly Kodi Burns pass downfield.
* Chris Todd delivered a nice pass to Terrell Zachery with Courtney Harden rushing hard into his face on a blitz.
* Burns delivered a deep throw to Smith over the coverage of D'Antoine Hood. Hood was right there with him, but Smith outjumped him to grab the ball and landed on his feet as Hood went down. It would have gone for about an 80-yard touchdown.
* Chris Evans sacked Todd on a blitz.
* Second-best play: Sen'Derrick Marks snuck out into the flat and tagged Mario Fannin as he leaped to catch a little screen. Considering Fannin's wearing a non-contact jersey, even the contact Marks put on him might have been excessive -- and that was just kind of a nice little collision. It would have been a highlight-reel decleater if they'd been going full speed.

* Highlights from goal-line offense:
*Chris Todd made a nice 5-yard TD pass to Tim Hawthorne in the back of the end zone
* Todd scrambled around and found Montez Billings for another 5-yard TD. Both Billings and Zachery broke off their routes when Todd started scrambling and were just trying to get open, coming from opposite directions, when he threw. They slammed into each other head-first when the ball arrived, but Billings held on. He was a little shaken up after the play, but I'd think he's fine.
* Burns hit Robert Dunn for a 5-yard TD in the corner of the end zone, with McFadden in coverage.
* Todd threw a 1-yard TD to Chris Slaughter and McFadden made a nice pass breakup, and near-interception, on Todd on the drill's final play.

* Field goals:
* Wes Byrum was 2-for-3, hitting from 47 yards and 40 yards. His try from 42 was blocked by Raven Gray, I believe, up the middle.
* Morgan Hull was 2-for-4, hitting from 46 and 40 and missing from 40 and 35.

* Still no word on Reggie Hunt.
* Jason Bosley will probably start practicing again early next week, Tuberville said.

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