The Norris Notebook: Afternoon Practice Brings Relief
The team was working on just about everything today as we approached less than two weeks before the first game. With school just around the corner and fall camp wrapping up tomorrow, the team will get on a regular schedule starting Wednesday as they prepare for Appalachian State on Sept. 2.
The defense responds to win the "new board drills" as coach Amato has been judging these competitions. The defense probably won five of the eight bouts, with Alan-Michael Cash winning his in the most inspired match. Cash and Andy Barbee battled for a long time, with Cash having the upper hand. He then appeared to back down slightly, and Barbee fought back to win the board for the offense.
Jimmie Sutton looked sharp in the secondary today, knocking down a pass or two and getting after the receivers. The receivers might be stepping up, but the secondary has certainly made its share of plays in camp.
John Amanchukwu showed some speed off the edge as the players continue to fight for the defensive end jobs. Coach Amato said the position is all scrambled in his post-practice interviews.
Practice was moved from the late morning to the afternoon because the weather was much better, and the team was in shells today. I usually give my favorite catch of the day, but this time it wasn't a player (though Rashad Philips, Darrell Davis and John Dunlap all made nice plays all day, especially Dunlap). Alan chucked a 20-yard ball to Adam in the corner as the managers ran plays, with Adam making a tremendous one-handed catch at the pylon.
Later, Andre Brown and Jamelle Eugene picked up some decent yardage, while Marcus Stone and the other quarterbacks did their jobs out on the field during 11-on-11. Stone picked apart the defense and found his receivers, while Daniel Evans and Justin Burke also made plays in 7-on7. Leroy Harris was again everywhere, enjoying himself between plays and busting heads during live action.
Thanks to Amanda, one of the better looking managers in recent memory (sorry Ben S.), who brought me Gatorade near the end of practice. She is quickly stealing Alan's role as a Norris favorite.