Citadel shows 'flashes of a good team', coach Mike Houston says

Citadel QB Aaron Miller runs during a recent practice. (Marjorie Maxon/Special to The Post and Courier)

The Citadel football team began the second week of fall practice Monday with an intense three-hour practice Monday morning, and coach Mike Houston said the Bulldogs are beginning to put things together.

"This morning, we saw flashes of a good football team," Houston said after the Bulldogs' eighth of 15 practices. "Things we have not been doing well -- making our fits right, tackling well, executing up front -- we saw flashes of some very positive things this morning."

The Bulldogs practiced twice on Saturday, the afternoon session a very humid one in Johnson Hagood Stadium, before a day off Sunday. Monday's morning practice ended with a taxing conditioning drill.

"Right now, we're working a lot on mental toughness," Houston said. "We're trying to develop that edge and that intensity we want to play with. We've got to learn to practice like that in order to play like that."

Houston said Javion Duncan, a true freshman from Simpsonville, has moved from the defensive line to guard on the offensive line. Duncan, 6-0 and 255 pounds, worked with the No. 2 offense Monday.

"We're a little thin on the line from graduation, and Duncan has given us outstanding effort on the scout-team defense so far," Houston said. "He really made an impact, so we figure that we'll try him there and see how he does. He's a big body, a strong kid."

Craig Miller, a 5-8, 185-pound junior from Holly Hill, ran with the No. 1 offense Monday at slotback, and caught a nice 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Miller.

"Right now, there's a lot of shifting and competition going on," Houston said. "Some of it is because people are not performing well, and some of its because other people are performing well. Competition is great and brings out the best in us."

Freshman lineman Derrick Freeland, limited to conditioning work last week after suffering a concussions, was back in practice wearing a yellow (limited-contact) jersey. Freshman cornerback Shy Phillips (shoulder) also is wearing a yellow jersey.

The Citadel's media day and Meet the Bulldogs event is set for Sunday at Johnson Hagood. The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 30 against visiting Coastal Carolina.