A few post-practice observations on this soon-to-be-rainy Thursday:
I would point out that some of these were posted on twitter earlier today, but I’ll combine them into one solid post.
The offense moved as fast as I’ve seen it, which was the subject of this morning’s blog. One of the reasons was there wasn’t a lot of substitutions. The coaches worked on leaving (mostly) the same people on the field on offense, lining up, getting the play, and going.
The players seems to line up correctly most of the time. There were a few hiccups, but for the most part they looked smooth.
Were they able to take advantage of the tempo? There weren’t a lot of scores, but they didn’t run the offense during a lot of sessions.
I think the bigger point is the pace was increased and the players did look like they were handling the basics.
Backup quarterback Kelton Hill looked sharp during all of the sessions on the short throws across the middle and to the sidelines, which was an issue for him last year. Most of the passes were right into the chest of the receivers.
Conversely, starter Ben McLane didn’t look as sharp as he has in previous days. There were some overthrows and at least one interception. To borrow an oft-used phrase from a head coach a few miles across town, I’d have to look at film to confirm what I saw. And I have no film.
There was one light moment during practice when defensive coordinator Anthony Midget caught a tipped ball and took off up the sideline. Standing across the field, coach Bill Curry got on the bullhorn and said Midget stepped out of bounds.
Special teams coordinator Jason French indicated that the battles for the kicking positions are going to last a while. Matt Ehasz looked sharp during Wednesday’s scrimmage, hitting back-to-back 35-yard field goals. He split time with Christian Benvenuto last year. Benvenuto is suspended for at least the Aug. 30 opener against South Carolina State at the Georgia Dome.
Benvenuto went 9-of-17 last year, while Ehasz was 1-of-5. Most of their misses came on attempts of at least 40 yards. Matt Hubbard figures to handle the punting duties after averaging 41.9 yards per punt last year.
They are being pushed by David Miller and Wil Lutz.
The team went full-speed on kick-off drills Thursday and the coverage teams covered the returner fairly well. There were no big gains, in other words. Opponents averaged 20.5 yards per return last year.