Spring practice is halfway-ish over, and while we at the Cup haven't an official on-the-ground correspondent in Oxford, we do have the assistance of you the readers and other friends of the Cup in reporting the goings on thus far in Hugh Freeze's first spring drills as an SEC head coach.
WVTNRebel and Nerd the Rebel, both gentlemen of superior charm, sex-appeal, and intellect, have done us a tremendous favor by putting together their observations here, here, here and here. Austin Miller, a good friend of the Cup and a regular contributor to Red Cup Radio, also pitched in his practice observations on this week's edition of the show. What I will do is shamelessly and without any real hesitation use these fine sources of ours to condense what has been going on thus far in practices into a few crucial bullet points. Think of it as "football practice concentrate," except if you were to add water to it you'd end up ruining your new iPad. Don't ruin your new iPad.
So, let's begin with the offense.
- It looks as if Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace are the guys to beat for the starting quarterback position, even though Randall Mackey has shown flashes of potential and athleticism. Mackey, though has been seeing some action at wideout, which leads me to believe that the coaches want him on the field somewhere in some sort of capacity this season.
- Also moved around was Tobias Singleton, who is now working some out of the backfield. He played halfback/wildcat some in high school (go Jags), so I wouldn't worry too much about this move. It's probably better for him and the team at large. Also coming out of the backfield are Jeff Scott, Grove Bowl all-star Devin Thomas (who should finally get some of the snaps he deserves this Fall), and a slimmed down Nick Parker. Parker was built like a brick outhouse in high school and was about a stubborn as a mule when he had the ball, so I have delusionally high hopes for his potential contributions to this team.
- Enrique Davis wasn't available to rob anybody of carries or run into the backs of his guards.
- Nick Brassell, when not needing tutoring to avoid failing the intellectually rigorous coursework offered under the university's Criminal Justice major, looks the part of an elite, athletic wideout. Hopefully he can see the field this fall. I also anticipate him in the secondary and on special teams.
- Donte Moncrief's still good at football.
- Ja-Mes Logan and Philander Moore have both seen some action and drawn praises from their coaches. I actually think we've got some good talent at receiver, but until we find a starting quarterback and a line to block said quarterback, we're in deep trouble.
- On offensive line, left tackle Aaron Morris seems to be the most athletic guy we've got. Junior college transfer Pierce Burton is looking to work his way into a starting role at tackle over Emmanuel McCray. I'm not optimistic that we're going to have an SEC-ready offensive line this season, however. I just can't piece together five starting guys I'm comfortable with just yet.
- Either Carlos Thompson has improved tremendously at defensive end, or our tackles just aren't ready to block anybody just yet. We really need Channing Ward on campus. Now.
- Denzel Nkemdiche, Aaron Garbutt, and Joe Dirtamalu have all seen action in the hybrid linebacker/defensive back role ("rover" or "Rebel" or "Scooter McDooderson" or whatever we're calling this guy), and all have done well enough there. We have a smaller defense, but they are very athletic, especially at the secondary and outside linebacker spots.
- Charles Sawyer is our best safety and cornerback. Not really sure what that says about our safeties or cornerbacks.
- Tyler Campbell for Heisman.
Like I said, these are Cliff's Notes of practices thus far. If there's anything you'd like to add, do so. Thanks again to WVTNRebel, Nerd the Rebel, and others, all of whom are now owed beer by yours truly.