There was a lot of contact tonight for a practice without hitting.
- Chris Galippo set the intensity right from the start. I could hear him yelling on my walk from Heritage Hall to Howard Jones.
- CB Brian Baucham followed suit with a pretty decent hit on Robert Woods. I'd hate to see what he would have done if hitting were allowed.
- Freshman CB Nickell Robey had another sterling practice. He intercepted a pass going up against Kyle Prater, who is nearly a foot taller than him, and he had a sack. Despite all that, he created the most buzz when he showed off his insane vertical leap in a celebration with Armond Armstead.
- Running backs coach Kennedy Pola is at his most intense during pass protection drills. Tonight, he preached, "Don't go back to your old habits."
- TE Blake Ayles had the play of the night with a 99-yard TD catch and run during team drills. While it did not effect the play, it would have been called back for a false start.
- On the tight ends, Kiffin is only fully comfortable with Rhett Ellison. He feels the rest of the group has "deficiencies" and they are trying to get them to be more consistent. He is not comfortable with any of them as an every down tight end right now.
- In case you missed it, scroll down and watch Dillon Baxter's introduction to the media. On Baxter learning his lesson, Kiffin said, "I think it's an ongoing process just like raising children. Just because they get a little bit better does not mean that they won't regress at times. He says the right things that he has learned from it, but his actions will speak a lot louder than his words."
- Kiffin is leaning towards leaving Baxter at home for the Hawaii trip, so he can get off to a good start academically and he won't be a distraction. He does not want the television broadcast to focus on Baxter. He wants to emphasize the players that are playing.
- With Baxter down for that game, it could provide an opportunity for a running back that will need to seize it. Lane Kiffin made it clear this morning that he looks for one or two backs to carry most of the load. He does not believe that a running back can get into a rhythm when splitting carries with three or four other guys.
- Joe Houston has won the field goal kicking battle. Right now, he's comfortable 45 yards and in. He can make it from deeper, but he has to muscle up, which leads to inaccuracy.
- Houston on how special teams coach John Baxter has helped him improve, "We've emphasized locking on to a target, especially kicking field goals. Instead of looking at the uprights as a whole, I look beyond it and find a small target. Use the phrase 'aim small, miss small.'" Like a golfer, Houston is also working on finishing his swing without looking up to see the result.
- Click here for a photo gallery of tonight's action.
- Here is Lane Kiffin's media session after practice with all the injury updates: