Anderson leaves the team
The move of Khevin Peoples to running back coincides with the departure of junior running back Jazen Anderson.
Jones said he's disappointed with Anderson's leaving. He missed practice Thursday and told Jones he wouldn't be back.
"He's a great kid. He didn't like that he was down on the depth chart, so he decided to do something else," Jones said. "It's not a blow (to the running back situation). He was not on the depth chart."
In addition to Peoples, starter Nate Ilaoa, No. 2 Reagan Mauia, David Farmer, Jayson Rego and true freshman walk-ons Gabe Weisbarth and Josh Berry are battling for position and playing time.
Anderson, the brother of former NFL star Jamal Anderson (who played for Jones with the Atlanta Falcons) is the third incoming player to leave, joining freshman safety Geoff Hayth and JC transfer cornerback Chris Camacho.
"It's not a surprise, there's five or six every year. There'll probably be a few more before the year's out," Jones said. "Some of it is the competition. We have a lot of guys and they want to play football."
Head knockin': The tempo was fast, and it was controlled by the defense in a 2-minute drill toward the end of yesterday morning's 3-hour workout.
Outside linebacker C.J. Allen-Jones was involved in two big hits, one that knocked the helmet off of star slotback Davone Bess, and another that knocked the ball out of the hands of big fullback Mauia.
Strong safety Brad Kalilimoku was in on the Bess hit and outside linebacker Tyson Kafentzis picked up the Mauia fumble.
The guys in green were swarming.
"That's going to help us against Alabama. That 2-minute drill was fast," Allen-Jones said, and then a big smile split his face when he recalled the hits on Bess and Mauia. "Yeah, man. All I did was sprint toward the ball. We collided and his helmet came off. I got up and looked at JJ (Jones) as soon as possible, hey, you know what I mean."
(Defenders are sometimes chastised for tackling teammates on offense in practice, but not always, and Jones did not seem to mind this hit.)
"I hit Reagan, the ball came out and Tyson came from the other side and picked it up."
Everyone came out of the collisions in one piece.
"That's the team we want to take out there to Alabama and win, so we don't want to get anyone hurt," Allen-Jones said.
Jones said the defense is coming together after more than a full year under Jerry Glanville.
"I'm impressed with the defense. They're playing hard and doing some good things, particularly the front seven. I think we're going to be OK. The first game's going to be tough but after that I think we'll be all right," Jones said.
Injury report: The depth took a hit at nose tackle as No. 2 Lawrence Wilson hobbled off with a left ankle strain and starter Mike Lafaele dealt with a neck strain. Fale Laeli was also out with an undisclosed injury.
That left most of the reps for Kahai LaCount, Rocky Savaiigaea and David Veikune.
No. 1 cornerback A.J. Martinez left the field with a recurring groin pull and spent the afternoon session on the bike. Former starter Kenny Patton moved in and got a lot of reps.
Linebacker Brashton Satele returned to practice after being out three days with a deep thigh bruise.
"It's good to have him out there obviously. He needs a lot of reps," Jones said.
Strong safety Jacob Patek and inside linebacker Solomon Elimimian were both back after missing time due to dehydration, and in Patek's case, food poisoning. Patek's illness was so severe he required a hospital visit.
"I felt terrible earlier in the week but I'm fine now," said Patek, who spent some time with the first team yesterday.
Starting center Samson Satele missed another day with a tender Achilles' heel, but Jones said it's minor, as are all the injuries so far.
"If we had to play a game today he would play," Jones said. "It's just a precaution."
Short yardage: It's looking good for cornerback Keenan Davis and outside linebacker Amani Purcell, to join camp sometime next week after completing transfer paperwork. ... Veteran cornerbacks Keao Monteilh and Ryan Keomaka will rejoin the team when school starts Aug. 21, Jones said. Both were held out of spring practice to work on academic issues. ... Ross Dickerson is still Jones' No. 1 choice as kickoff returner, but several players will vie for punt return duties. They are Mike Washington, C.J. Hawthorne, Quez Jackson and Mitch Farney. "And," Jones said. "If we want to win the game, Davone (Bess) is always available."