Gilliland pleased with Tuesday practice

Published 9:27 am Thursday, August 21, 2014

The smile returned to West Alabama football coach Brett Gilliland’s face following Tuesday’s practice in full gear at Tiger Stadium. It had been missing following the last two practices.

“Today was a lot better day. The energy level was a lot higher,” Gilliland said. “We challenged them because we felt like, especially offensively during the scrimmage Sunday, that the energy was way down.

“Then Tuesday we kind of got bounced around because of the weather, so it was hard to get high and stay high,” Gilliland said. “We made it an emphasis today and the kids came back and responded well.”

Email newsletter signup

It took until the 10th practice, but Wednesday was the hottest day of the preseason as the heat index climbed to 98 degrees during the workout, plus an additional 10-15 degrees on the artificial turf that makes up the playing surface at Tiger Stadium.

“The heat is always a concern, but I thought we handled it well and did not let it bother us,” Gilliland said. “We talked about it beforehand, then shelved it and said let’s roll.”

Gilliland singled out some usual suspects, but also some newcomers who had impressive days on offense. He liked the play of quarterback Kyle Caldwell and receiver Chad Toocheck, as well as a trio of running backs.

“Kyle had a great day throwing the ball and Chad had a great day catching it,” Gilliland said. “Jabari Baker, Rashaad Lee and Tyler Rogers have all three have been running the football hard and continued to do so today.”

The Tiger defensive front drew high praise from the first-year head coach, including ends Tirelle Cullen and Martaze Jackson, along with tackles Jherron Jones and Sony Theodate.

“I have a feeling our front is going to be pretty good,” Gilliland said. “Tirelle, Sony, Jack and JJ are becoming a mountain that is hard to move.”

The Tigers will have normal practice sessions Thursday and Friday before scrimmaging Saturday at 10 a.m. All workouts are at Tiger Stadium on the UWA campus and are open to the public.