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Defensive Practice Notes: 4/14

Cortez McDowell-1Some notes and observations from the defensive side of the ball at Tuesday’s spring practice.

Injured players get some work in: We saw a bit of this on Saturday, but a lot of the players out with injuries this spring were at practice, getting some work in with workout gear and helmets on.

Many of the players were able to go through at least some of the individual drills, working on things like footwork, agility and explosion. During the final open period, defensive coordinator John Jancek had all of the injured defensive linemen (and there are a lot of them) working together in a separate drill.

Derek Barnett, Curt Maggitt, Danny O’Brien, Darrin Kirkland Jr., Jakob Johnson and Owen Williams (which is a newer, undisclosed injury) were among the players working in that setting.

In other injury news, defensive end Andrew Butcher looked to be back as a full participant at practice after missing some time last week. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (mono) also returned to practice in pads. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin wasn’t at practice, but was seen around the practice field, so looks like maybe just a routine day off for him.

One-on-one DB/WR drills: Butch Jones challenged cornerback Cam Sutton right off the bat at practice, saying that they would be coming at him all day. He wasn’t lying. Jones had the team gather up and watch him go on one-on-one against receiver Von Pearson from the 4-yard line. Pearson, who Jones challenged over the weekend, made a nice grab in the corner over relatively tight coverage from Sutton.

Malik Foreman then got a shot against Josh Malone in the same scenario. Foreman had tight coverage that forced an incompletion, but the official at practice did throw his flag, presumably for defensive pass interference. In the third rep, Brian Randolph had great coverage on tight end Ethan Wolf, forcing an incompletion.

One-on-one pass-rushing drills: We saw several one-on-one pass-rushing drills during the open period. For the most part, the offensive line had a great day in these drills, winning a majority of the reps. Be sure to check the practice video to see some of these matchups, but the ones that stood out included:

• A good rep from Chance Hall against Shy Tuttle

• Charles Mosley had a couple good reps against Mack Crowder. He’s obviously not a dominant speed rusher, but his size and power are undeniable, and he got a great push that would’ve collapsed the pocket in a live setting.

• This is more of an offensive note, but it happened over on the defensive side of the practice field: Dontavius Blair had one of the best performances I’ve seen in an open period. He had three great reps – two against Dimarya Mixon and one against Andrew Butcher – in pass protection. Pass protection seems to be the area he’s ahead in right now, but run blocking might be holding him back a bit.




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