With practice open to the media for three periods, there was an opportunity for a few takeaways, though the team was limited in the type of work it could get in due to NCAA rules mandating that the first two practices are without pads. The goal for the coaches is basically to use the time as productively as possible without actually being able to real football things.
— The first several periods were spent on special teams work, with senior running back Kirk Johnson, sophomore wide receiver Joshua Moore, and sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram working with one set of returners, likely kickoff return, while freshman running back Jordan Whittington and sophomore cornerback D’Shawn Jamison worked with another group on returns, likely punt returns.
— The starting offensive line for went, from left to right, redshirt sophomore Sam Cosmi, redshirt junior Tope Imade, senior Zach Shackelford, junior Derek Kerstetter, and redshirt junior Denzel Okafor. Freshman Tyler Johnson worked with the second team at center, while redshirt freshman Christian Jones worked at right tackle with the second team. As a group, the linemen looked lean, as none of the players are carrying excessive extra weight. Even Imade, who is listed at 345 pounds. Seeing Jones at right tackle was especially heartening, as the biggest question facing him this spring is whether he can play outside and hold up in pass protection.
— Freshman Roschon Johnson looks like he has already put on about 10 pounds of muscle since arriving, as he’s noticeably thicker in his upper body.
— The quarterbacks spent some time in what looked like it was basically a run-pass option drill. The quarterback would first hand off to a running back, then a snap from a coach and fire the ball out quickly.
— Freshman wide receiver Bru McCoy primarily took reps at the Z receiver position during the open portion of practice, as seniors John Burt and Devin Duvernay, the two most experienced players at the position, were not in attendance. In the wide receiver group, McCoy already stands out physically.
— Sophomore DeMarvion Overshown was working with the safeties and is listed as a defensive back on the roster after spending some time at linebacker last season.
— The defensive backs worked in drills focused on staying low in their backpedal, then flipping their hips and running, while the defensive line worked on the shooting their hands on the sleds.
— Several players were wearing no-contact jerseys, including freshman linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd (unknown), sophomore linebacker Caleb Johnson (shoulder), and junior defensive lineman Marqez Bimage (shoulder).