Some notes and observations from the defensive side of the ball during the open portion of Saturday’s practice inside the Anderson Training Facility.
Fast start: Rain drove Team 119 indoors on Tuesday as they held their seventh practice of the spring, but the energy was high as practice began thanks to Butch Jones grabbing his team’s attention by starting things off with another set of ‘Circle of Life’ battles.
The defensive standouts during the limited CoL pairings were “Big” Charles Mosley over Austin Sanders and Shy Tuttle getting the best of Jack Jones, while most of the other reps – outside of Josh Malone besting Stephen Griffin – ended in a draw.
Red zone work: Butch Jones continued with the one-on-one battles after the conclusion of the CoL work, moving his team into the red zone to work on some passing game situations. Josh Malone beat Malik Foreman badly on a corner route, but an overthrow by Joshua Dobbs fell incomplete and got Foreman off the hook. Jalen Reeves-Maybin had pretty good positioning on a corner throw to Ethan Wolf, but Wolf was able to use his height advantage and long arms to haul in the throw for an apparent touchdown. Reeves-Maybin argued after the play that Wolf’s feet came down out of bounds, but the call stood and Wolf was awarded the rep.
In pass-protection reps in the red zone, Dontavius Blair bested Dimarya Mixon and Jack Jones had a solid rep against LaTroy Lewis that earned him the win and a round of celebration from his teammates, but, once agains, it was Shy Tuttle who stole the show in his one-on-one match with fellow newcomer Chance Hall. Hall was lined up at guard against Tuttle, but it was almost as if he wasn’t there at all. Tuttle used his size and strength to bull-rush Hall and drove him backwards into the quarterback, resulting in a sack and a decisive victory for Tuttle, who continues to impress with his explosion, strength and nasty attitude between whistles.
2-points: The final live action of the day involved the first and second-team groups from each side of the ball competing in two-point conversion attempts. Rashaan Gaulden was beaten badly on the first rep by Von Pearson on an out route to the pylon, while Jauan Jennings was tagged short of the end zone on a quarterback keeper on the second rep of the session.
Dobbs found the end zone again during his second rep, this time on another designed run up the gut. Chris Weatherd was able to blow up the second-team offense’s second attempt on a nice play to take out the lead blocker from his defensive end spot that forced Quinten Dormady inside and into the arms of the rest of the defense’s pursuit. Weatherd’s move to defensive end may prove to last no longer than the spring, but plays like the one he made today show that he has the skill set to help this defense, regardless of where he’s positioned when the play begins.
The starters for the first team defense during two-point conversions were as follows:
Rashaan Gaulden (Nickel)