Soundoff: Three observations from Saturday practice

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on August 3, 2013 

— Saturday was the first emergence of the constant of football — injuries.

Shamier Jeffery had the first one, but it appeared to be nothing more than a cramp. Nick Jones was the third one, with what also looked like a cramp.

The second one could be problematic. Cody Gibson went down in the final minutes of practice and finished the session on the medical table, sitting up with an icepack strapped to his right knee. He walked to the trainers’ shed with no assistance

Gibson must be hoping it’s not anything serious. He’s already had a sprained left knee and a meniscus injury during his career, plus a nasty virus that derailed him last season.

Otherwise:

1. Bruce Ellington can do anything

Besides receiving, running the ball, having taken some snaps at “Wildcat” quarterback, catching kicks and playing basketball, Ellington was free-styling to the team’s warm-up music while leading stretches. He also walked on his hands for around 7-10 seconds while waiting for his next kick return. I don’t think I’m the only one who misjudged his ability the first time I looked at him.

2. Not much attention is being paid to the place-kicker battle – yet

Sure, they’re all the way down there at the bottom of the depth chart and they’re usually practicing away from the rest of the team, but they’re still important. Fact is, a good kicker makes a difference (ask Florida State and Miami during the “Wide Right” days). I think that Landon Ard will win the job and have a strong year (his hometown is known for greatness, after all), but Nick St. Germain is on scholarship for a reason. Could there be a camp-long battle, or a mid-season switch?

3. Grady Brown will have his players knowing every route

Brown, not that far removed from his days as an Alabama A&M defensive back, runs routes with all of his defensive backs. He’s telling them how to cut off routes and take the right angles on different receivers. He was telling Pharoh Cooper that he could beat him on the go, he was congratulating Victor Hampton for cutting him off before he got to full speed. Brown doesn’t appear to be one who takes failure lightly.

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