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Usama Turns Up The Heat

    <span style="">The name "Usama" isn't generally met with feelings of overwhelming joy and serenity, to put it mildly.   

And after this morning's practice, all three of the Saints quarterbacks might be feeling the same way towards Saints second-year cornerback Usama Young as the rest of the nation feels about Usama (or Osama) Bin Laden.

The second-year corner from Kent State, who was one of the Saints' two third round draft choices in 2007 and went on to play in 14 games for the Saints last season and was the team leader with 20 special teams tackles, had one of the those days that can best be likened to what Tiger Woods feels like when he gets in "the zone."

Young deviled each quarterback with a timely interception during team drills and batted away another pass in the sweltering heat of Jackson. Each time he recorded one of his big plays, he simply tossed the ball back to one of the ball-boys and jogged back to the huddle, as if to imply that it was just a normal day.

However after practice, Young admitted it was a special day and that he knew he was on a roll.

"I don't know how a golfer feels when he gets into a zone," Young said, "but I do know that today was a really good day."

Wide receiver Marques Colston laughed and shook his head when asked about the progress Young has made from his rookie year to his sophomore year. "He's playing fast and confident right now and making life miserable for the receivers," said Colston, who knows quite a bit himself about making life miserable for opponents. "The competition at the cornerbacks spot is pushing all of their games up and all of the corners are stepping up and competing hard."

Young acknowledged that his second training camp is progressing much better than his first, if for no other reason other than the fact he is 100% healthy.

"Last year I entered camp with a quadriceps injury that really nagged me through camp and was in the back of my mind the whole time," he said. "This year the play calls are second nature and I am not thinking as much and worried about making a mistake because I know all the calls and assignments and can just go out and play."

"I'm really excited because the competition for playing time is pushing us all," he said of the cornerback group. "Each day brings something different. One day you could be with the starters, one day you might be the nickelback and one day you might be running with the third team. It's that competitive and I am enjoying every second of it."

"He's a year older and wiser," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "He is playing with some confidence and is improving. This is a big training camp for him."

News and Notes: The competition that Young spoke about at cornerback will get even steeper this afternoon, according to Head Coach Sean Payton. Veteran corner Mike McKenzie, who has missed the first nine practices of training camp, is slated for his first live action of the summer this afternoon. McKenzie, who was injured in the season finale of the 2007 season with a serious knee injury, has made a remarkable recovery in short order.

Wide Receiver Devery Henderson and cornerback Tracy Porter, both of who suffered hamstring injuries on the same play yesterday afternoon, sat out Monday morning's practice with their respective injuries. Payton indicated the news on both of their injuries was "relatively good." Neither Henderson nor Porter suffered an abnormal amount of swelling and both could be shelved for about a week's time.

Defensive end Bobby McCray was limited Monday morning because of back spasms. Safety Josh Bullocks (knee) also sat out practice, as did rookie receiver Todd Blythe (head). The temperature crept over 100 degrees this morning and this afternoon's practice, which begins at 4:20, could be the hottest practice thus far this training camp.

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