It was a helmets only day with an emphasis put mostly on special teams. It was also a shortened practice with a lightened workload in team drills after a long three weeks of grinding.
Head coach Mike K. Norvell had this to say about today:
“I thought today was a good day, really a toned down day from the physical output...I thought we still got quality work, it was a helmets practice. I liked the mental aspect and the intensity that the guys brought, in regards to that we got a lot of special teams work...I like where this team is trending.”
Defensive line showcases depth
A little like yesterday, the defense either honed in quickly to the ball or was already there when it crossed the line of scrimmage either through the air or in a running back’s hands. The defensive line pretty much came in waves and caused a lot of problems for the quarterbacks trying to get the ball out. That, paired with extremely tight coverage by the linebackers and defensive backs, made it hard for the offense to move the ball through.
Lineman Dennis Briggs was able to record a sack on quarterback Jordan Travis. Defensive linemen Ayobami Tifase and linebacker Amari Gainer also had sacks and I’ve noticed Joshua Farmer bullying guys around.
*It wasn’t all bad. Lineman Bryson Estes showed he can take on double teams and hold them well alongside Robert Scott and Dillan Gibbons, that brings me to my next observation.
Defensive secondary shows great coverage
The coverage was generally good across the board and when a pass did end in a completion, the defense was right there to stop it.
Linebacker DJ Lundy had another day of good coverage and his new weight allows him to run neck and neck with some of the bigger-bodied skill position players. There was one play on a long pass attempt to ATH Joshua Burrell that Lundy stuck with him the whole route and ended up swatting the ball away.
There was one pass attempt where linebacker Brendan Gant caught the ball initially tipped by cornerback Azareya’h Thomas.
Emphasis on special teams
Having a small amount of 11 on 11 drills today was planned along with focusing mostly on special teams to lighten the workload. There is always time to get the little things right on special teams.
Norvell has always said he wants to emphasize that phase of the game and today that was the case.
The team will hold another practice tomorrow morning and a scrimmage on Saturday. The scrimmage will be closed to the media.