CARROLLTON, Ga. - The first four days are in the books for the University of West Georgia football team, as the Wolves head into Sunday's practice ready to go full speed for the first time in this camp season.
Head coach David Dean and his charges have been on the field in each of the last four mornings since reporting day on Tuesday. The Wolves opened camp in just helmets on Wednesday and Thursday, then went to shells (helmets, shoulder pads, shorts) for Friday and Saturday's practices.
"We have had four good practices, but we are still learning how to practice together and we need to finish," said head coach David Dean. "It's very hot out here, and for three-fourths of the time, we are really good, but we need to finish strong to get to where we need to be."
As is customary when limited to no contact, the offense had a strong showing in the first two days of practice, with big plays coming from Shaq Roland, Josh Nobles and Shannon Smith at the wideout spot. Sophomore quarterback Willie Candler, along with Tyler Queen and Hinton McConkey showed good rhythm in getting the ball to playmakers and allowing them to work.
On the defensive side early in practice, Montrell Pardue was singled out as being a standout by Dean, and showed it with an interception in the first one-on-one period. Senior Zed Brown was also strong, closing late to break up a deep pass over the middle in the same drills. Freshman Laperion Perry had one of the best catches of camp thus far, using every bit of his 5-9 frame to go up for an amazing catch.
Once hitting was allowed on Friday and Saturday, things became more interesting. On Friday, Queen had a great run off of a fake in the first team session for a win on the offensive side of the ball. But then in 7-on-7, Ashton Jackson had a leaping interception and Pardue again had a solid pass breakup. In the final team session, Jakyron Young had a beautiful interception and Candler had the deep ball working. The quarterback hit Tevin Isom and Emoni Williams for a pair of long touchdown receptions.
Saturday saw more sun and heat, but the Wolves pushed through. The defensive line was more assertive in the team session, seeing a strong performance from Devlyn Cousin and Ladarius Townsend. Redshirt freshman Sam Ndem had a big run up the middle offensively and Hinton McConkey hit Deniko Carter for a long gainer over the middle. The catch of the day came during the second team session, when Tyler Jack used his athleticism to go up and pull down a beautiful leaping interception.
The Wolves will be in full pads for the final three days of camp week,with school beginning on Wednesday morning at UWG. Practice is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, followed by 8:45 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday.