MOBILE, Ala. -- With players hanging up the pads and practicing only in helmets until Saturday night's game, the majority of scouts have already left town. Still, there was plenty to watch during the two practices.
Thursday practices have typically focused on special teams in the past, but that wasn't the case during Thursday's North practice. While the North squad worked on kickoff coverage and returns, the bulk of the practice was spent going though individual, unit and team drills at a slower pace and with no real hitting.
The first thing we noticed was Cal Poly WR Ramses Barden and Western Michigan S Louis Delmas in street clothes. Barden got hit in the head during Wednesday's practice and trainers gave him a concussion test as a precaution. Though they took the better-safe-than-sorry approach and kept Barden out of practice, it's important to point out that they didn't diagnose him with a concussion. In fact, he's expected to play on Saturday
Delmas' status for the game is still up in the air and his injury remains undisclosed, but a scout who spoke with him told us that Delmas is going to have tests done at a local hospital this afternoon. Regardless of if he plays in Saturday's game or not, Delmas can leave Mobile with his head held high. We now rank him as one of the top two safety prospects (along with Alabama's Rashad Johnson) in the 2009 class, which means Delmas has leapfrogged Missouri's William Moore. Seeing Delmas and Moore on the same field this week has made it clear that Delmas is the more complete player. Moore has great straight-line speed for his size, but his somewhat stiff hips hinder his ability to match up in man coverage and he hasn't eased concerns about how quickly he diagnoses plays. While Delmas (6-foot, 197 pounds) isn't nearly as big as Moore, he is still a tough run stuffer who flies to the ball and his instincts in coverage are outstanding. As one personnel man said this week, "If you don't believe in Delmas, go watch the Western Michigan-Nebraska game [in which Delmas had 11 tackles -- five solo -- and an interception]. It tells you everything you need to know."
Here's a look at what else stood out from Thursday's practices.