Spring Practice #13: Notes

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As we enter the final week, the roster is more depleted than ever.

  • Add defensive backs Tony Burnett and Demetrius Wright to the injury list with ankle issues picked up in last Saturday's scrimmage.
  • Running backs Dillon Baxter and Marc Tyler are still not back practicing.  In order to play in the spring game, Baxter will have to prove he can push off the ankle, while Tyler needs to pass a concussion test.
  • The wide receivers were back down to three scholarship players today with Markeith Ambles relegated to disciplinary exercises on the side for showing up late.
  • On the positive side, it's only spring!  The depth this fall should will increase at every position with the recruiting class arriving and the injured scholarship players returning.
  • The linebacking corps could see the most dramatic transformation.  Last year, they had little to no depth, but with the development of Hayes Pullard, Dion Bailey and Marquis Simmons to go along with the injured starters and three top freshmen, they are loaded all of the sudden.  "Competition is going to run deep," said LB coach Joe Barry.
  • Pullard has been the spring sensation, but he's earned that label the old-fashioned way.  "He's just taking advantage of his opportunity," Barry said.  "He's showing up and making plays and that's what our job is as linebackers."
  • Bailey's conversion from safety to linebacker was the early story of spring.  Now, he has found his niche as a hybrid backer who sees most of his action in modified nickel packages.  "He and Marquis Simmons are both athletic guys for linebackers," Barry explained.  "We don't have to substitute and go nickel (five defensive backs).  We can stay with our base package and kind of morph into our nickel package."
  • As for the day's highlights, the Robert Woods versus Nickell Robey match-up on the outside continues to be the highest quality duel.  Robey made a great play on a deep ball to knock it away from Woods in a one-on-one situation.  Then, he came off his man to pluck away an interception on a pass intended for Woods.
  • Woods is never held down for long though.  He made a great second effort, juggling catch on the sideline to secure a long completion.
  • Actually, Woods grab set up another offensive highlight, D.J. Morgan showed his burst to the edge on a touchdown run to cap the drive.  Morgan is still not at full flight, which is a scary thought considering how explosive he is when he turns on the jets.
  • Here is Lane Kiffin looking back at the scrimmage tape and ahead to the spring game...

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