Senior Bowl

5 things to know from Day 1 of Senior Bowl practices

MOBILE, Alabama --

  1. Hue Jackson and his new-look defensive staff had a little more than a week together inside the Berea facility to prepare for this week's Senior Bowl practices and game.

The years and years and years of experience they carry, though, has made the transition a smooth and seamless one, Jackson said. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams brings 26 years of NFL experience to the table, and the comfort level he has with his defensive assistants has helped make the time crunch easy to manage.

"It's good, it's been good," Jackson said after Tuesday's practice. "We've had a lot of meetings, we've had a lot of 'this is how we do this and how we're going to go about it.' A lot these guys are not new to me. (Defensive backs coach) DeWayne Walker is not new to me. Gregg and (linebackers coach) Blake (Williams) and (assistant defensive backs coach) Jerod (Kruse), (defensive line coach) Clyde Simmons, they are. They'll get to know my style, I'll get to know theirs. But I think we all understand what we're trying to do."

Tuesday's practice was a smooth operation for the group, and the competitive fire Williams promised between Jackson and himself was on display throughout it. During a set of one-on-one drills between offensive and defensive linemen, Jackson, Williams, Simmons and new offensive line coach Bob Wylie watched intently and shouted instructions at the players. At multiple points, Williams could be heard shouting "come get some!"

"I can tell it's going to be exciting," Jackson said. "Every day. It's going to be a lot of fun. He's very competitive like I am and I think that's what good teams have. They have guys that compete. We compete against each other, which ramps up practice a lot, the players compete, and we've just got to continue to do that. He's one of the best there is, I know that, that's why we brought him here."

  1. In light of the departure of Pep Hamilton, tight ends coach Greg Seamon has shifted over to work with the South's quarterbacks and assistant offensive line coach Mark Hutson is working with the tight ends.

Both carry plenty of experience at their respective, new positions. Hutson was a tight ends coach with the Oakland Raiders from 2012-14 and Seamon was a quarterbacks coach with Navy in the 80s. He was also the offensive coordinator at Pacific when Jackson was the team's quarterback.

Jackson stressed the changes weren't permanent and would be re-evaluated after the Senior Bowl.

"We have that flexibility among our staff that, if this is the way we need to go, then we can do it," Jackson said. "But again, that's a special position and I don't want to rush to make a decision because I don't think I need to. I think we're well-equipped this way right now but if I make a decision that we need to change that, we'll do so."

  1. Jackson spent the bulk of his time analyzing the South's quarterbacks during Tuesday's practice. Afterward, he said he came away impressed with Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs, who did "extremely well."

"He completes the ball, he's more athletic, and he has a good arm," Jackson said. "He throws the ball extremely well. I was a little surprised at how well he threw the ball."

Dobbs, who started games in all four years at Tennessee, threw for more than 7,000 yards and rushed for more than 2,000 during his college career. He combined for 85 touchdowns.

The South team's quarterback room also includes Cal's Davis Webb and Tiffin's Antonio Pipkin. Former Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly is helping the group in practice and going through interviews but won't play Saturday because of an injury.

  1. Cleveland's coaches had one of the top prospects in this week's game working at multiple positions.

Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp was a dominant tackle at the collegiate level but is projected by many as a guard in the NFL. ranks Lamp as the best guard prospect in this year's draft and pegs him to be a potential first-round pick.

  1. There might not be a more loaded position on the South's roster than tight end, as projected first-round pick O.J. Howard is joined by Ole Miss' Evan Engram and South Alabama's Gerald Everett. All three got the ball early and often in a number of different drills at Tuesday's practice.

Howard is ranked by most scouting services as the top tight end in this year's draft class. Engram, at 6-foot-3 and 227 pounds, is pegged by some as a potential wide receiver prospect and is anticipated to be a Day 2 pick. Everett is's fifth-ranked tight end.

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