Defensive Practice Notes: 4/9

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    Chris Weatherd-1-4Some notes and observations from the defensive side of the ball during the open portion of practice on Thursday afternoon.

    Another good rep for Tuttle: The team started out in the Circle of Life drill as usual and Shy Tuttle continues to stand out. From our somewhat limited vantage point, it appeared that he was able to control Chance Hall and drive him out of the circle.

    Team work: 

    Immediately after the Circle of Life drill, Jones put the team in a live 4th-and-1 situation. The offense, playing without Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara at running back, tried to convert on the ground, but the defense, led by Rashaan Gaulden, was able to crash through and stop the play short of the marker.

    The offense and defense then got some more 11-on-11 work, simulating various fourth-down scenarios. Overall, the offense seemed to get the upper-hand, but a few defenders made some nice plays:

    • DT Owen Williams got a good pass rush up the middle on the first play, rushing Joshua Dobbs into an incomplete pass.

    • A walk-on tight end (not listed on the roster) made a catch and appeared to be heading towards the end zone for a long touchdown, but Devaun Swafford made maybe the biggest play of the day, tracking him down over a course of 50 or 60 yards. It was hard to tell if he was the one that was able to jar the ball loose or not, but he was clearly the one that came up with it, prompting Butch to single him out on the microphone, calling him “Big Play Swafford” and complimenting his effort.

    Cortez McDowell had a nice tackle for loss

    There were some shaky moments too…

    Malik Foreman got toasted pretty badly on a slant route by Pig Howard

    • Walk-on running back Jayson Sparks also broke a long run that was somewhat negated by a holding downfield by Von Pearson. Still, not a great moment for the defense when a walk-on running back is busting huge plays.

    Depth chart notes: 

    Evan Berry was working as a starting safety in place of Brian Randolph, who looked like he was just getting a few plays off

    Kenny Bynum continues to get the first-team work at inside linebacker

    Dimarya Mixon, Owen Williams, Kendal Vickers and LaTroy Lewis made up the starting defensive line

    Injuries/absences: CB Emmanuel Moseley (mono) remained out, and it appeared that DE Andrew Butcher was limited in drills. S Todd Kelly Jr. wasn’t present in the open portion of practice.