We're two days into training camp, and as many breathless reports and message board posts as their have been (OMG BRANDON HARRIS TOOK FIRST-TEAM SNAPS), it's been pretty mundane. Because practice is boring, especially before the pads go on. You'll hear grousing from some local media members about Les closing practice off starting Monday, August 10, but don't let 'em fool you: they barely even like going.
I, however, don't have much going on at the moment, so I decided to attend the short media sessions on Friday. Here are a few thoughts:
- Do NOT pay attention to who practices in which session during the split-squad work. The designations are relatively arbitrary, and some players will switch between the morning and afternoons from day to day. It's mostly about having numbers at each position and getting repetitions evenly distributed. For example, Quentin Thomas and Greg Gilmore have already flip-flopped at the defensive line.
- Chatter: there's not as much as you might think. The advantage of the split squad is that drill groups are smaller, so there's not much standing around waiting in line to get your turn. If you wanted to call that a good sign, I guess you could. But again, it's day two.
- WEIGHTING GAME: Ross Dellenger of the Advocate has a great update here on the updated roster. Couple thoughts based on my own observations -- my first thought when I heard about Harris's weight gain was that he'd probably still look like a bit of a stick, just due to his lanky frame. But honestly, you really do see it through his trunk and legs. He's filled out well. Conversely, I thought Dillon Gordon looked a bit slimmer despite a listed 13-pound gain. Other guys who really stand out are Jamal Adams, Rickey Jefferson, Jalen Mills, Malachi Dupre, DeSean Smith and Gilmore, who really looks put together.
- Arden Key: looks every bit of 240 pounds. Miles has compared him to Barkevious Mingo, and honestly, I'd say he has the body that many wanted Mingo to grow into. A much thicker frame that can probably continue to add weight. Whereas Mingo always hovered right in the mid 230s and just looked wiry.
- I've heard several times that Ed Orgeron (who you really can hear pretty much from anywhere on the field at all times) really loves Lewis Neal, and it's easy to see why. He's basically Orgeron's avatar: short, with a thick, fire-hydrant-like frame and relentless energy. They're going to give that kid every chance to earn the starting job on the weak side.
- Strip Drills: during the morning session the entire defense was alternating between different drills on stripping the football, with the coaches swapping up as well. Kevin Steele worked with the defensive line, Corey Raymond with linebackers and Orgeron with the DBs.
- On our way out, we caught one last glimpse of a 2-minute shell drill with the quarterbacks and receivers. Harris was working with Smith, Dupre, Travin Dural and D.J. Chark, with Dural and Chark outside while Dupre lined up in the slot.
UPDATE, 7:24 p.m. (after checking out the afternoon:
- Couple more thoughts...Chidi Valentine-Okeke is as skinny as a 300-pounder can possibly be...just nothing but arms and legs...Jazz Ferguson will be a receiver the whole way -- could see him being in the 215 range, but doubt he's a future tight end, as some guessed...Derrius Guice has the build of a much, much bigger back than his listed 222 pounds...very bowling ball-ish...Maea Teuhema is a big ol' kid as well.
- Tiger Rag
- The Advocate, Day 2 -- Day 1 here.
- Defense Eager to Conjure 2011
- Geaux 247 Photo Gallery