So a couple of the writers and I went out to see the first practice live and in person. We just wanted to see for ourselves how some of the newcomers would look and how other players had progressed over the summer. Obviously, there's only so much you can tell from an hour. Especially when that hour is almost all early drills and stretching. Some worthwhile notes:
Jevan Snead - Snead was unimpressive today. He's obviously the best passer on the team (we know, Layton Jones is still there, but trust us) but we don't feel he showed up in full today. It's early and he'll hopefully get the rust shaken off.
Dexter McCluster - McCluster is so damn quick. Good gravy. If you've ever wondered what a ball of fast-twitch muscles with dreads looked like this is it. He was not perfect as he dropped a pass that he really had no business dropping, but he still showed us that he's the Dex we remember. He's quick, agile, and not at all scared to go over the middle. The little bastard's tough, and we love him for it. Before you ask, no, they did not run the WildRebel today.
Markeith Summers - The best wide receiver of the spring really didn't do much today. There were a lot of dumps today, and the wide receivers didn't get a lot of chances to excel. One-on-one, he was locked up by Dustin Mouzon twice but did beat his defender deep on one drill, only to be overthrown by an overzealous Snead.
Marshay Green - We were really looking forward to seeing him at cornerback. I remember during the spring that he quickly took control of the position and got rowdy. Today, he was the fastest corner on the field. He has great hip swivel, and he is already a player in the game. He was lined up as a starter and we expect him to hold onto that spot until the season starts. Also, during tackling drills, he showed incredible ferocity. For a little dude, he's not afraid to mess someone up.
Allen Walker - this guy showed out today. It was great to see a returning linebacker really step it up. I wonder if he's feeling the Trahan pressure. Walker made a sick leap into the air and batted a ball down that was nowhere near where your average linebacker could get to it (very EA Sports of him). The fact that Walker is a converted safety is going to be an enormous asset to us this year. At one moment during the practice, a helmet-less Walker strode past us towards the IPF. We were worried that he was hurt, overheated, or something else along those lines. As it turns out, the poor guy needed to piss. We worry too much, it seems.
Marcus Tillman - In order to fill in the temporary vacancy left by Ted Laurent and his ailing meniscus, Tillman worked at defensive tackle today. Obviously, he excelled in drills and, while he is slated to start as a strongside end, he has the skills necessary for any spot on the line. Ted Laurent was at the practice but, being three days removed from surgery, he wasn't dressed out or doing any work.
Patrick Trahan - Tubberville called Partick Trahan the best defensive player he has ever coached. That may be the case, but to us, he looked a little small. He's wearing number 7 which may hurt him. The last junior college player we had who went to number 7 wasn't so great. He is in great shape though, and he's also a bit taller than we expected. We hope to see more of him this week. Perhaps we'll pay more attention to the linebacker drills during the upcoming practices.
Demareo Marr - If there's a newcomer that we desperately need help from more than Trahan, it's Marr. Today, he showed great potential but it is obvious that he desperately needs to get accustomed to SEC football. He's got decent size and long arms so we see him as being loaded with potential.
Enrique Davis - The "savior" of Ole Miss football has arms the size of tree trunks. He's lean, but he's really well built. He made a few catches in the pass skeleton drills and showed quickness during halfback drills but we didn't get to see enough of him today to tell you much more.
Jerrell Powe - After waiting on bended knee for three years, Powe looked... well, not a lot like Jerrell Powe. He has visibly lost weight. That's a great sign for the season. I saw him out there in the spring and thought he must have eaten 2.7 Ole Miss girls (the rough equivalent of one Arkansas girl). The guy was HUGE. Today, he's smaller. Obviously, he's not Dexter McCluster smaller, but he's much healthier looking. The coaches got all over him today, since he didn't have much burst in his step. More than anything, it was just great to see the big guy out there with the team. Hopefully he'll begin to impress us more and more as practices wear on.
Justin Smith - while we didn't pay extra close attention to him, he's big, strong, and really fast. He was certainly a surprise out there.
Jeremy Parnell - 6'8"? Really? He actually looked pretty good out there for someone so far removed from football. BTW, he is a DE... not a TE. We don't know how much he'll play or even if he plays at all, but he's certainly got athleticism.
Melvin Harris - Melvin Harris is rail thin. Seriously, teeny-weeny. I weigh 190, and two of him could fit into my shorts. He's 6'7, but he has got to gain weight. I smell a redshirt.
Gerald Harris - Big and cut. Looks to have really crafted his body over the summer. Hopefully he can show up at tight end and give Jevan a solid red zone threat.
Andrew Harris - Harris made one spectacular catch coming out of a wheel route. He got distance from his corner (don't remember who) and came down with a well placed ball. He's tall and has decent size. We know it's been said time and time again, but these wideouts are good.
Nathan Stanley - Mechanics are good, but he had trouble with the speed of the game in the passing skeleton. He really does throw a nice ball and has great height but, as HDN would put it, is a whole tube of biscuits shy of having legitimate SEC quarterback size. Fortunately, his mom is still hot.
Remember, these are all based on one day of practice. Actually one hour of practice. Actually, one hour of drills. Don't get too excited about this one day or too upset about newcomers not living up to expectations. For many, it's their first day to practice in a college atmosphere. There are going to be growing pains. Overall, we were impressed with the team and drills. We have high, yet unsubstantiated, hopes for the season.
Oh, and not to make a mountain out of a mole or anything, but these kids look great on the hoof. Many of them have big feet, to boot. Quite an impressive group of kids. More to come tomorrow, faithful cuppers.
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