Observations From Day One: Defense
The boys are back in town as the defending national champions hit the field in pads for the first day of fall practice.
Here’s what I saw from the defense.
*Christian Wilkins looks slim.
It seems counterproductive slimming down, since Wilkins is making the move from defensive end back inside to tackle. But he looked much quicker going through drills, something that is going to be very tough for college guards to handle, combined with his athleticism.
*Tre Lamar, on the other hand, looks huge.
You see Lamar’s listed weight of six-foot-three, 250 pounds and you may think it’s big, but it’s a whole different animal actually standing near it. Lamar looked plenty fast for his weight, too. He reminds me of Stephone Anthony–the Senior year version.
*Everyone is excited about the defensive line, and rightfully so, but don’t sleep on the linebackers.
Along with the aforementioned Tre Lamar, Chad Smith looks like a force to be reckoned with. Kendall Joseph looks like he’s ready to be even better than he was last year. Dorian O’Daniel looks like he’s gotten quicker. Then there’s the forgotten five star Shaq Smith, who is getting pretty hard to tell apart from Tre Lamar with how big he’s gotten. This linebacker group is as athletic as I’ve ever seen.
*Trayvon Mullen looks ready to step up in the secondary.
Mullen was relaxed and joking around before practice began, and even stopped to pose for a photo before making his way over to a drill, but once the drills began he was all business. He was full speed on tackling drills, constantly earning praise from defensive coordinator Brent Venables. On footwork drills, he was always at the front of the line and never got called out for taking a shortcut. Mullen seemed like he realized there is a vacant corner spot, and he’s trying to take it.