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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Post-scrimmage notes + quotes

All right, after finishing my story and notebook, I'll drop some of the stuff I gathered from today's post-scrimmage. This week was much, much better than after last week's scrimmage, so thanks to them for taking care of us. Of course, you'd love to be able to watch the thing in a perfect world, but I get why they keep it closed. Keep that in mind, though, when you're reading everybody's stories from the scrimmage. You're only able to be so accurate when you're writing about something you haven't seen. Details vary from person to person when they're recounting things.

Anyway, Tuberville said they ran about 90 plays, plus 30 more in the kicking game. He said the only injury was to freshman DE Jomarcus Savage, but he didn't think it was serious. Bart Eddins (shoulder) should be back within the next week, he said.
* Also, Brad Lester, Tristan Davis, Mario Fannin and Sen'Derrick Marks didn't scrimmage.
* He probably had the line of the day, when he said they should have the depth chart ready in about 10 days: "We’ll look at (film) and we’ll talk about it. We’ve got to give y’all something the next couple weeks, since we’re not fighting anymore."
* Still no word on Reggie Hunt. He said they expect word from the Clearinghouse by maybe Monday, which he said is like the deadline, since classes start on Monday.
* Senior safety Jonathan Vickers has been awarded a scholarship.
* Tuberville likes what safety Mike Slade did today and predicts he'll play a lot this year.
* Rod Smith said he scored on a TD pass of about 50 yards from Kodi Burns.
* He said the coaches were going to immediately watch and grade the film and then
show it to the players afterward. He thinks they're getting ready to decide which freshmen are bound for redshirt years.
* Speaking of freshmen, lots of talk about Philip Pierre-Louis today. Tuberville talked about him at least once or twice. I know I've been pumping him up on here, too, because he's been really fun to watch so far. My guess is that he's going to be a fan favorite because of what he does after the catch. I've already posted Tubs' comments from after the scrimmage on PPL. Here's the quote I used from Jerraud Powers about him today:
"I didn’t get a shot at him. During practice and stuff, we usually sort of talk stuff to each other. I get him a few times in practice, but he’s so quick and fast, it’s hard to get a hold of him. But I didn’t get a chance to go against him today, but I saw him make a lot of plays today, though."
* Tomorrow's the last of 16 straight days of preseason practice. They'll break on Monday for the first day of classes and then begin their regular fall routine. Only two weeks to go...

Here are some more quotes from the players I talked to post-scrimmage:

Jerraud Powers on the scrimmage:
"I would say the first half, I’d say we probably got the upper hand in the first half, but as the scrimmage went along, receivers started making plays and they started running the ball a little bit. I thought Tate had a good scrimmage. He was running the ball well. So later in the second half, the offense probably got the upper hand."

Powers on whether the pace of the offense affected the defense:
"Personally I’ve sorta adapted to it. It doesn’t bother me personally. But I think with the d-line though – and I think o-line too – I think it takes a toll on them as it goes on. That’ll happen, just because those guys are 290, 300 pounds. As far as the linebackers, secondary, I think we’re starting to adapt to it a little bit."

Merrill Johnson, on the offense and defense's performances:
"The offense, they’re getting great chemistry together. They were moving the ball downfield pretty good today. That’s a good thing, as long as our defense continues to progress and continues to get better. We need to work on tackling and I think everything’s gonna work itself out."

Johnson, on whether tackling was again the biggest issue in the scrimmage:
"It is. But we work on tackling every day and we’re gonna continue to get better at it, but right now we’re not where we want to be. So we’ve just got to stay hungry until we get there."

Smith, on the quarterback race:
"As far as one pulling away from another, I can’t tell you that. As far as the competition, it’s still a great competition going on and I’m just looking forward – I don’t even know who’s gonna be the starter – so I’m just looking forward to seeing who’s gonna be the starter. Both of those guys continue to make plays for the team."

Mike McNeil, on how the defense is a little rusty on its tackling because it hasn't done much in practice:
"That’s definitely a reason. You practice how you’re gonna play. We’re not being as physical in practice or they’re blowing an early whistle. That benefits the offense, but it also hurts the defense."

McNeil, on Ben Tate's performance in the scrimmage:
"Ben Tate is a great back. To me he has it all. He has speed, quickness and the size and the strength – and he has good vision. He’s a smart back. He’s not just gonna run blindly, he’s gonna find blocks. I think overall, Ben Tate had a good day."

McNeil, on the running game:
"I think the running game’s gonna excel because of the passing game. They’re gonna open up, spread the field. We’ve got great backs who can run the ball and wide receivers who can catch the ball, so we’re gonna use all that to our advantage."

McNeil, on what the defense needs to work on:
"Right now I believe it’s just conditioning and tackling."

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