As I’ve mentioned earlier, Chris Kiffin at time this camp has looked like a private tutor for Robert Nkemdiche.
It’s clear Hugh Freeze expects Nkemdiche to play a big role. Nkemdiche has done nothing to indicate he won’t be up to the task. He ran with the first team most of today’s practice. He had been with the second team.
Here’s Nkemdiche in a defensive line drill. The object is to stay low. As I understand it, low man wins the drill. Nkemdiche is matched up against Woodrow Hamilton. More on Hamilton later, the staff is really excited about him.
As far as the ends go, Nkemdiche will be given the chance to do great things quickly. You can say that about the other freshmen as well, but the others are being worked into practices at a more even pace. Receivers Laquon Treadwell, in the slot, and Quincy Adeboyejo, on the outside, are running with the second team.
Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil ran some with the first team today, as Pierce Burton continues to be sidelined with a back issue. When Tunsil is in, he plays left tackle, and Emmanuel McCray slides to the right. At times today Robert Conyers ran with the first team at right tackle.
Point is, I don’t know if I’ve seen any player receive as much coaching attention as Nkemdiche is receiving right now. If it’s not from Chris Kiffin, it’s from Derrick Burgess. They’re getting him ready.
Kiffin has spent so much time with Nkemdiche that he has to stop and make sure he’s giving enough attention to his other defensive linemen. Here’s Kiffin:
The Rebels need to be more explosive off the edge, and Nkemdiche can help them do that. They’re most explosive returning player, C.J. Johnson, was a little more active in individual drills today. He’ll be worked slowly into the 11-on-11 part of practice. Not there yet, but they’re optimistic about his return.
They like the start Channing Ward has gotten off to as well. You can hear Kiffin talk about him in the clip above, and Freeze also praised Ward.