<u> **Practice Notebook, 8/1** </u>
Day two on the practice fields at the Saints' training facility. After a relentless morning sun, relief drifted over in the form of a few dark clouds. During a quick break, these words came from defensive line coach Bill Johnson, apparently pleased with the work by his unit over the first 20 minutes: "One thing you are going to have to understand – I control the weather. That was a good job there. You see, in return you get some clouds. Now you'll know when the sun comes out, I'm pissed off."… Two LSU players squared off when CB Randall Gay and WR Lynell Hamilton/Skyler Green.aspx">Skyler Green went head-to-head in one-on-one drills early in practice. Gay stuffed Green to the inside, a solid play by the defender, before Green finally made his way outside the hash marks to make the reception…The play of the day in the first half of practice was made by CB Tracy Porter, who went over the top on WR Devery Henderson to knock away a pass on a deep pattern, drawing the praise of his defensive teammates and a healthy applause from a crowd of more than 2,000…Returners taking turns fielding punts included RB Reggie Bush, Porter, Green, WR Lance Moore and Henderson. Said special teams coach Greg McMahon to the coverage units when he didn't like their pace: "If you're walking, you're wrong"…Brian Young, a Saints starter throughout his five seasons with the club (2004-08), is working with the defensive line as a coaching assistant during training camp…RB Herb Donaldson had a strong morning workout and showed the virtue of perseverance. First the 226-pound rookie was drilled to the turf by S Pierson Prioleau at the line of scrimmage on a carry up the middle. But on the next play, he took off on a 30-yard burst, drawing the immediate, loud praise from Coach Sean Payton. Later in practice, he had a similar rush around right end through a handful of arms, a gain sprung on a key block by WR D'Juan Woods. Said wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson, turning to the rest of the wideout corps as Woods returned: "That is how you block, right there." …The team portion of the morning practice featured the most physical play of training camp to date – only three practices in, of course – but there was plenty of hitting. The bulk of the play-calling was running plays, with intense action inside, and more than a few ball-carriers ending up on the ground…The offensive and defensive linemen split off into pass rushing drills late in practice, with the offensive line distinguishing itself. DE Will Smith left T Jermon Bushrod in his stance once while quickly going around him, but Bushrod also held his own later. T Jon Stinchcomb stood up DE Mark Brunell/Charles Grant.aspx">Charles Grant twice, though DE Garrett Hartley/Paul Spicer.aspx">Paul Spicer did send one blocker head over heels…Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has stressed turnovers since arriving in New Orleans, with every loose ball – even incompletions – being chased down and scooped up by defenders on every play. In the final team segment, Prioleau dropped a sure interception, leaving Williams nearly disgusted as he turned his head away from the field. Prioleau – known for his heady play, leadership and versatility – has played for Williams during his coaching stops at Buffalo, Washington and Jacksonville. "I can't believe it coach," said Gay with a laugh. "You've been coaching him for 20 years, and he drops an interception right at the end of practice." ... Today's attendance at the morning practice was 2,649. The bleachers can comfortably seat 2,700 spectators, but nobody will be turned away, as their is capacity for 3,500 people. ... the heat was registered at 84 degrees this morning with the heat index at 95.
In the closed afternoon practice, the Saints completed their most spirited practice yet. On the final play of one of the team periods, two separate skirmishes broke out with some pushing and shoving. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said he liked the competition but not the extra pushing and shoving. "The last thing we want to see happen in a guy getting injured, and sometimes in those things, a guy can get hurt and you lose him for a period of time. That's not worth it in my opinion."
Some highlights plays from this afternoon included a long completion from Brees to Devery Henderson ... Mark Brunell/Charles Grant.aspx">Charles Grant shedding a block and dropping RB Mike Bell for a loss of one yard ... Brees taking a pitch pass and hooking up with a leaping Robert Meachem for a long gain ... Randall Gay popping Bell on an inside handoff .... Bobby McCray getting a big shot in on Lynell Hamilton .... DE Anthony Hargove registered tow big hits ... Brees to Marques Colston for two nice gains, with the big receiver making a leaping fingertip grab on his second ... Brees and Jeremy Shockey connecting for a long completion that probably would have been good for a touchdown in a game .. Hamilton making a nice run after hauling in a screen pass, even battling through an inadvertent facemask.
Practice notebook 7/31
The first Saints' practice of 2009 Training Camp – and the team's first in full pads since October of last season – kicked off at 8:50am, with 2,303 officially in attendance. Included in that total was a couple holding a gold sign with "We drove seven hours to get here" hand-drawn across the front of it. A long line of fans wrapped around the field more than an hour before the gates opened…While the morning was already warm, before the end of the workout at 11am the temperature had officially risen to 91.5 degrees, with a heat index of 105.4, according to the digital gauge held by the athletic training staff on the field. There were no heat-related problems for the players, and it rained following practice. The unpredictable weather forced the team to move the afternoon practice indoors…Training camp always brings a number of Canadian Football League scouts to practice, who roam the sidelines to keep an eye on prospects who might not make the club's final roster…Early in practice, WR Robert Meachem made a twisting, over-the-shoulder grab while tangled with a defensive back that drew a lengthy cheer from the crowd. The one-on-one drills – quarterbacks dropping back without a rush, no safety in the middle of the field and the cornerback alone with the wide receiver – are a favorite of the fans and a difficult assignment for the defensive backs. CB Tracy Porter stood out by breaking up a pass near the sideline to WR Marques Colston….The battle at cornerback will likely be one of the most compelling of camp, with Randall Gay, Jabari Greer, Porter, Jason David and Leigh Torrence among the veterans headlining a deep group, not to mention unsigned No. 1 pick Malcolm Jenkins…In early pass-catching drills, S Chris Reis juggled the ball before dropping it, then went to the turf and did 10 quick pushups…WR Lance Moore, wearing a red jersey as he continues to work his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, made a fast break on an out pattern and hauled in a strike from QB Mark Brunell. "Seems like old times," said wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson. Moore participated in one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills on a limited basis…In team drills, David earned huge praise from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams after closing quickly on a screen pass. From deep in the secondary, David arrived just as RB Mike Bell caught the ball. While in practice a completion, it would likely have been a huge collision in a game, if not a turnover. Williams went on to the field to loudly congratulate David…Williams could be heard across the practice field later during the team session, when a defender lightly tapped a wideout following a reception to indicate a tackle would have been made. "I do NOT like that tap," the veteran coordinator said. "Wrap the offensive player up. I do not like the tap out here." … A pair of photographers from Sports Illustrated were sent to cover the club's opening days of camp.