The Citadel football team practiced in full pads for the first time on Friday, and new coach Mike Houston was pleased with what he saw.
"We put our foot on them pretty hard throughout the practice," Houston said. "And they responded very well. I was really pleased with today."
One area of concern in the first week of practice has been the offensive line, where four starters must be replaced. After some shifting around over the first week, the Bulldogs settled Friday on a lineup of senior Victor Hill and redshirt freshman Isaiah Pinson at tackle, junior Sam Frye and sophomore Kyle Weaver at guard and sophomore Harrison Davis at center.
"We changed it up today," Houston said. "We were not happy with our performance up front yesterday, or with the tempo of our offense. We spent a lot of time in walk-through with that new lineup and we'll see where it goes."
Cornerback is another position that lost senior starters in Brandon McCladdie and Sadath Jean-Pierre.
"We're shaking it up there, too," Houston said. "That will be a competition for the next few weeks."
Senior Walker Smith and sophomore Dee Delaney ran with the first team at cornerback Friday, with sophomore Cody Richardson and redshirt freshmen Tyrus Carter and Ben Roberts in the mix. Freshman Shy Phillips has been slowed by a sore shoulder.
Among true freshman, safety Josh Massey (5-11, 190) from Rock Hill, has made a quick impression.
"He'll be a durn good player," Houston said. "He had three or four big hits today and doesn't back down from anybody."
Freshman offensive lineman Derrick Freeland suffered a concussion and after a night in the hospital is expected to be full go by Monday, Houston said.
On Friday, the first-team offense included Hill, Frye, Davis, Weaver and Pinson on the line with receivers Alex Glover and Brandon Eakins, quarterback Aaron Miller, fullback Tyler Renew and slotbacks Jonathan Dorogy and Jake Stenson.
First-team defense had ends Justin Oxendine and Mark Thomas, tackles Cam Mobley and Mitchell Jeter, linebackers Carson Smith and Carl Robinson, rover Rah Muhammad, corners Smith and Delaney and safeties Nick Willis and Julian Baxter.
Freshman defensive end Steven Knowles made an impressive play, leaping to deflect a pass and then diving to intercept the ball before it hit the turf.