The best news reported by Coach Joker Phillips after Monday’s practice was something that didn’t happen on Saturday.
Phillips said on Monday that defensive end DeQuin Evans incurred a mild knee sprain, but no serious injury, during Saturday’s practice.
“He’ll be ready to go in about three or four days,” Phillips said. “He got lucky. He got rolled up on, but rolled out of it, so he’ll be fine. It didn’t swell at all, so we’ll give him a couple of days and see how it goes.”
Evans, who will be a senior in the 2010 season, is the team’s top returning defensive lineman. He totaled 38 tackles last season while leading the team in tackles for loss (12.5) and quarterback sacks (six).
Phillips continues to be pleased with the team’s effort and pace in practice. Now he’s looking for improved efficiency.
“Next thing we have to do is hone in our assignments, find out where our eyes are,” Phillips said. “Your eyes will take you to your assignments.”
The coach also gave an update on the competition between quarterbacks Mike Hartline, Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski.
“All of them did some good, we’re progressing the right way,” Phillips said. “The ball has to come out of our hands a little bit better but the thing is, they’re throwing the ball where it is supposed to be. All I want to do is see if they are throwing the ball to the right spot. We’ll get it coming out of their hands better later.”
Another area of emphasis this spring has been in the offensive line, where four starters must be replaced from last season. Early results have been encouraging.
“I feel good about what they’re doing up front,” Phillips said. “We’re trying to find the right five but we have numbers that we’re working with, which is good. Moving (former defensive end) Chandler Burden over there will definitely help us have some competition at left tackle. We’re rotating a few centers in there, Sam Simpson, Marcus Davis and Matt Smith, so there’s some heavy competition there. There’s competition all the way across the board. I’m liking how they’re playing, trying to play fast.”
The team practiced for two hours, 20 minutes Monday morning in full pads. The Wildcats return to practice Wednesday.