Anyone who has been out to Aggie practice has noticed the defense has been running a ton early on. Joe Lee Dunn wants his players in top shape and is putting them through the gauntlet early on.
Right now, this seems to be the first unit as practice hits just its fourth day on Sunday.
Down linemen: Rhyan Anderson, Dylan Moss and Ka'ua Adolpho. Also seeing snaps is E.J. Cannon.
Linebackers: La'Auli Fonoti, Nick Paden, Jason Scott
Secondary: Davon House, Brennan Baiamonte, Derrick Richardson, Alphonso Powell and Vince Butler. Again, last year's starting cornerback Chris Woods is out with a shoulder injury. He's expected to be on the shelf until midseason. Ben Bradley also made some plays on Saturday and Chris Buckner is trying to make the transition from wide receiver to DB. He made one nice play that stood out at practice as well.
Moss and Adolpho saw limited playing time last year and Cannon redshirted.
Paden and Scott are both newcomers.
Baiamonte and Powell didn't play much while Butler battled injuries and inconsistency.
Scott is undersized but said that he takes pride in the mental aspect of the game and tries to be the most prepared on the field day-in and day-out. He was in perfect position for an interception on Saturday during passing drills and had the ball slip through his hands. Still, the team was fired up after the play.
The secondary played well in practice on Saturday. They were active and enthusiastic about being on the field. I know it's early but the unit is working hard to get better and running all the time. House said that at the end of each practice the defense runs 40's for 3 minutes and 15 second, then does up-downs for 1:45. Then back to the 40's again, then back to up-downs. They do the routine for 15 minutes and everyone is absolutely gassed afterwards.
Dunn said that he wants his team to be tough physically and mentally. Doing those drills in the heat should do the job. He also said he will play 15 guys if that's what it takes and if that's what the talent pool is. We'll see. But it definitely is a more intense look from last season, and a needed change.