Saturday morning, near the end of Southern’s third practice of preseason football camp, coach Stump Mitchell was disgusted - not with players or their effort, but himself.
During team drills, Mitchell made a mistake with a detail in one of his play-calls.
Junior wideout Charles Hawkins was the first to correct him.
It was, to Mitchell, a sign of two things: 1) that Hawkins knows his playbook inside and out, and 2) that Hawkins’ levels of maturity and leadership have grown.
In short, Hawkins has performed well during the first week of camp.
“Man, he’s doing an exceptional job as a receiver,” Mitchell said. “I feel good about him. I’m glad he’s coming back next year.”
Though Mitchell wasn’t intending to bad-mouth his other receivers, he said Hawkins has probably displayed the surest hands on the team so far.
Hawkins, who had 16 catches for 195 yards last season, has practiced as one of SU’s top three receivers so far, joining seniors LaQuinton Evans and Jared Green.
Tiller to DT
Traé Tiller, used sparingly in his first two seasons at Southern, has moved from offensive line to defensive tackle, a position at which the Jaguars are thin.
At the moment, Tiller is a backup to other veteran tackles, including Dexter James, Casey Narcisse and Brandon Turner.
“He’s a work in progress,” defensive coordinator O’Neill Gilbert said. “He’s working hard. He’s been on the offensive side of the line, but he has a big body. ... He’s a 300-pound man, and extremely strong. He hasn’t quite grasped the D-linemen’s mentality and technique. But he’s working hard, and we’re going to have to count on him some this year.”
Southern lost a defensive tackle during the offseason when Jeremiah Booth became academically ineligible (he has transferred to a junior college, Mitchell said). Booth, as a freshman last season, had seven tackles in seven games.
Wednesday marks the start of two-a-days for Southern, which practiced in full gear for the first time Tuesday. ... Freshman LB Robert Sanchez practiced as a deep snapper Tuesday, in addition to regular snapper Justin Williams. ... Redshirt freshman Jaleel Richardson, a wide receiver last season, has moved to defensive back. ... Sophomore CB Rashaad Hoyle sat out practice in what Mitchell called “a coach’s decision.”