In one-on-one drills between the receiver and defensive back, Lang threw 13 passes. He completed just five; three of his incomplete passes were poorly thrown. To his defense, two well-thrown balls were dropped, and #5 Fr. CB Isaiah Green (5-9, 170) made a great play on another.
#16 Fr. Matt Faulkner (6-3, 190) had his best practice thus far. He has to step up to the plate as the No. 3 quarterback in the program. As well, he may be counted on as the scout team quarterback if Lang makes the varsity roster.
Faulkner was money during 7-on-7 drills. Granted there was no pressure and he was playing against his peers, but each throw was on target. He completed 7 of 8 passes; the lone incomplete pass went threw the hands of #21/23 RB Ryan Mathews (5-11.5, 205).
Special team preparation is becoming a major focus of practice. The Red Squad starts at 9 a.m. and finishes up around 11:30 a.m. The last hour coincides with the Black Squad's first hour. A good chunk of newcomers are seeing many special team reps, including punt returners #18 Fr. Devon Wylie (5-9, 180), #37 Fr. Jermaine Thomas (5-11, 170), and Lang.
A number of Red Squad members have already joined the Black Squad. #34 So. RB Jamal Rashad (6-0, 215) is now seeing increased reps as the No. 2 RB. #8 Jr. CB Sharrod Davis (5-11, 180) is still learning the ropes, and he is having his troubles early on against the veteran receivers.
However, there are a few Black Squad members pulling double-days. #34 Sr. LB Trevor Shamblee conditions with the Red Squad in the morning, and he practices with the Black Squad in the early afternoon. He expects to be 100% by September 1 and will likely start if he is.
#97 Sr. DT Jason Shirley (6-5, 330) for the second straight day practiced with the Red Squad. He worked out alone on Monday and was required to put in extra work on Tuesday because he missed a 6 a.m. conditioning session. Nonetheless, he has pulled double-duty practice and conditioning with the rooks and veterans.
#35 Sr. K/P Kyle Zimmerman (5-11, 200) was booming the ball Thursday. He is competing with #42 So. P Robert Malone (6-1, 215) for the starting spot. Malone was also punting well, but it is beneficial if he uses a redshirt in 2007. Then he could preserve three years of eligibility after 2007.
The hitting picked up Thursday and there were a few scuffles but the big moment of the day was when 70-year-old Bulldog great Dale Messer made his appearance at practice.
Coach Hill gathered the Red Squad late Thursday morning and introduced Messer to the rooks. Messer was on hand to grant permission to un-retire his No. 21. Mathews is honored to wear the former All-American's jersey. Moreover, to see Messer hug Mathews in front of his peers was truly a Bulldog moment.
INJURIES, PLAYERS SITTING OUT THURSDAY
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