Virginia Wednesday Practice: Notes

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The tempo was high and the kids were energetic as they draw closer to the home opener.

  • No new injury news, but Shareece Wright is sporting a hard cast on his thumb.  He's playing through the injury, but it will obviously inhibit his ability to intercept the ball.
  • Armond Armstead continued to play defensive tackle alongside Jurrell Casey.  While Armstead worked almost exclusively at end during camp, he's fine with the move.  "I like the move," Armstead said after practice tonight.  "The coaches felt like it was the best decision, so I'm going with it."
  • Armstead is already at 295 pounds, which is big for a defensive end, so he won't have to gain weight for the position switch.  "The techniques are not that different.  You just have to change your mentality when you are playing inside."
  • Armstead and Casey played side-by-side at the tackle spots as freshmen, so they are excited to reconnect and wreak some havoc.  "Having him inside and having our four best defensive linemen will be a great opportunity for everyone to get out there," Casey said referring to Armstead's move enabling Nick Perry and Wes Horton to play at the same time.
  • Casey and his line mates are focusing on staying in their rush lines this week, so the opposing quarterback cannot scramble with the same effectiveness that Hawaii's Bryant Moniz did. 
  • While Michael Morgan had the knockout blow against Hawaii, Casey lifted a defender off the ground to pave the way for Ronald Johnson's punt return for a TD.  "It was pretty nice.  I liked it," Casey said about the block.  Check it out on Flashback: Hawaii on SC TV if you missed it.
  • Nick Perry's health is paramount to the Trojans pass rush and Armstead making his move permanent.  Kiffin listed him as "limited" in practice, but Perry said, "I'm good."  Judging by practice reps, Perry will start unless he reaggravates the injury.
  • "I promise you that we're going to do better this week," Perry said about the defensive line.  LB Devon Kennard remarked that the defense is playing with a "chip on our shoulder."  Kiffin concurred that he expects a big week out of the defense.  Basically, everyone who has been around this team was surprised by the defense's performance in the first game, so I predict a resounding bounce back performance on Saturday.
  • T.J. Bryant is starting to work his way into the mix.  He is a fairly proven commodity in a defensive back pool that is mostly untested, so don't be surprised to see him win back the nickel corner position.
  • The defensive backs were being drilled on turning around against the deep ball, which was a huge problem against Hawaii.
  • Matt Barkley celebrated his 20th birthday today.  There was no formal announcement.  Kiffin said they have to win a lot more than just one game before they start prioritizing birthday parties.
  • Here's what else he said...

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