2. For the first practice in full pads, coaches did not tarry in bringing on contact drills. The team went 11-on-11 inside the 5-yard line in one of the first periods of the practice, though there was a similar drill Wednesday when players were in shoulder pads and shorts. On one of the successful plays for the offense, quarterback Zach Gibson found tight end PeJe Harris shooting out to the front pylon for a touchdown just across the goal line.
In a drill run by secondary coach Travares Tillman, defensive backs lined up across from one another, were pushed back by Tillman and then one wrapped up the other and drove him backward. Kenny Bennett, a transfer from Maryland, made perhaps the most jarring collision in the drill, earning the approval of Tillman.
Bennett has been training at nickel back and cornerback, defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker said Wednesday. Bennett is competing with Kaleb Edwards and K.J. Wallace for the nickel spot.
3. Quarterback Jeff Sims was particularly effective in a two-on-two passing drill, finding open targets and hitting them in stride. Offensive coordinator Chip Long was asked after practice if receivers have an advantage in that drill, in part because the defensive backs don’t have help from safeties that they might in a game or 7-on-7 drill.
Said Long, “With the way Jeff’s throwing, I think we do.”