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Spring Practice #7 - March 29, 2011

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A steady rain fell during the first half-hour of practice as the Tigers were again forced to the turf field because the grass fields were too wet to practice on.

Today was more of a run-oriented practice with the Tigers in full pads. Jerrell Rhodes, who is being held from contact this spring, made several solid plays today. He and Jamere Valentine are getting a majority of the reps, while Billy Foster and Brandon Hayes are also adding much-needed depth. Hayes is back on the field after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Foster is getting a couple of reps in the run game, but is still working heavily with the receiving corps.

"I thought the defense was ahead of the offense today," said Coach Larry Porter after practice. "Several defensive players had flashes of doing some good things out there in terms of making plays. I am happy that the defense is becoming more consistent."

Coach Porter talked specifically about some of the defensive players that he is seeing consistency with, including defensive linemen Frank Trotter and Dontari Poe as well as Kenyata Johnson and Fred Harvey at linebacker. He also again singled out Mohammed Seisay for continuing to make plays in the secondary, and recalled a play on third down situation today when Lonnie Ballentine came in and made a big stop.

Porter is having to have patience with the offense as the group is battling through depth issues in the offensive line and at running back, as well as incorporating more of a spread offense into the mix.

"Offensively, we still have to overcome some of the little nuances that are involved with us doing some spread things, so that can be frustrating at times," said Porter.

The Tigers will be back out on the field Thursday, and Coach Porter said they will work heavily on the passing game with the squad in shells instead of full pads.

Check out the video below as defensive back Mitch Huelsing talks about the Tiger defense through the first two weeks of spring practice.

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