5 observations from day one in the shoulder pads

University of Memphis quarterback Brady White (left) on day one of training of the 2018-19 season.

Memphis Head Coach Mike Norvell had a quick glass of water before evaluating the Tigers’ first practice with shoulder pads on Sunday.

He was exhausted, his team was exhausted, but there was a different intensity to training at the Liberty Bowl and it showed in the players and coaches bringing an extra level to the field.

“It was probably the best first day in towels we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Norvell said.

Here are five quick thoughts from Day 3 of preseason camp:

Junior quarterback Brady White played almost exclusively with the first unit in 11v11 exercises. His first set ended with a long touchdown pass to junior tight end Sean Dyke and White showed good precision during the major part of the day.

The first mini-skirmish occurred during Exercise Oklahoma between first-year tight end Tyce Daniel and first-year linebacker Jaylon Allen. Norvell wanted the guys to be ready to play in the Liberty Bowl and Allen, in only his third practice, has shown he doesn’t back down to Daniel.

Running back Kenny Gainwell continued to impress as a wide receiver. He showed good hands in the 1-on-1 drills and played with the second unit in the 7-on-7 drills. You can see why Norvell said on Saturday he was forcing him to follow Tony Pollard as much as possible.

Junior linebacker Austin Hall had his second consecutive practice with an interception, knocking out Whites in 1-on-1 drills. But the best defender on Sunday? Second-year linebacker JJ Russell, who made plays all over the field and showed his speed at hitting the ball.

Drew Kyser Junior Center missed his second consecutive practice with an injury, so offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield shuffled and tied his first unit line. Junior Dustin Woodward took over at center and junior Brytain Peddy slipped to right guard. In the 11-on-11 exercises, junior transfer Manuel Orona-Lopez also saw time with the first unit.

Defense of the Tigers:Memphis lineman Jonathan Wilson back in shape after spring injury

Racing game:Bigger, stronger Memphis running back Darrell Henderson for 2018

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