Sensing the intensity in the first practice with full pads wasn’t difficult. What was evident is that the players, for the morning practice anyway, were more concerned with getting the work done even in the face of a steady rain on a couple of occasions. But issues presented themselves, especially on offense.
Offense: For much of 11-on-11 drills, the wide receivers seemed out of sync. There were a couple of notable plays from Imani Davis, Dylan Potts and a nice 25-yard pass from quarterback Dalton Williams to receiver L.T. Smith, but there wasn’t much else there otherwise. Some of that could have been a function of the defense’s play.
Defense: That’s especially in the case of junior Malachi Freeman, who had an incredible sequence of plays when he strung out a running play for no gain, tackled a receiver for no gain and then picked off a ball. On another play, safety Sean Graves forced a fumble. Isaiah Williams has come on the last couple of days and continued with a thunderous rush and blocked pass today. It was definitely the defense’s day.
Making an impression: If you look at defensive lineman Mike Davis, a redshirt freshman from Powell, you don’t expect much. But when paying attention to him in practice, he delivers, surprises even.
A walk-on, he’s impressed enough to catch the eye of defensive line coach Todd Stroud.
“Physically, he's not going to be a kid that bowls you over, but at the same time, he's just a football player. He has a knack for doing things at the point of attack,” Stroud said. “He's not going to be your fastest or your biggest or your strongest, but he could be a guy who could factor into our depth chart at some point and give us some depth.”
Building a fan base: The UA athletic department has established the Zippy’s Kids Club with two levels of membership. The club will be open, per NCAA regulations, to children 12 and younger. For more information go to GoZips.com.