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Red Raider Gridiron | Stephens 95% and the Chain Gang

AND SO IT BEGINS | Players reported yesterday. Practice starts today. The official site has a Training Camp page that you might want to bookmark. It has your official roster, but I don't think that all of those weights are accurate and may be from last year. They also have some videos of QB Seth Doege, WR Alex Torres, S D.J. Johnson and CB Eugene Neboh. I should also mention that S Cody Davis will most likely keep updating his blog, A Student of the Game, and he did yesterday.

CHAIN GANG | So one of the big things from yesterday was that the defense has given themselves the moniker, "Chain Gang" and to hear Johnson explain it, he wants to create an identity for the defense that every link on the defense is important. It's also about accountability. Johnson said the offense has the Air-Raid and he wants to leave a legacy for the defense to have a similar impact. I think I get that and I know that when I first heard that the defense was giving themselves a nickname, I kinda rolled my eyes, but I understand Johnson's explanation. I'm not a rah-rah sort of guy. I don't get too up or down so things like this have never motivated me, but that doesn't mean that it might not motivate someone else. I also understand that. LAJ's Don Williams and Nick Kosmider on the Chain Gang and here's Johnson:

"We have this thing going called ‘The Chain Gang,’" senior safety D.J. Johnson said. "Each person is an important link. If one link fails, it doesn’t just let down the person to the left of you, but it also lets down the person to the right of you. As a team, as a defense, we’re really going to buy into that."

Again, I understand the defense needing to buy into something . . . anything to make everyone accountable. That means everyone, from players to coaches. KCBD has a video story if you'd rather watch than read.

I should also note that it was mentioned on Twitter that Pete Robertson is up to 230, from 220 during the spring. Need to keep your eye on Robertson this fall.

STEPHENS 95% AND WASHINGTON 90% | It was also reported yesterday that RB Eric Stephens said that he was 95% and RB DeAndre Washington was 90% (hat-tip Chris Level). LAJ's Nick Kosmider catches up with Stephens and he talks about the rehabilitation process:

Somber moments were brief, though, Stephens said. He didn’t have time to dwell with twice-daily rehab sessions that began at 6 a.m. He worked alongside players like receiver Alex Torres and running back DeAndre Washington, who are also working back from knee surgeries.

"We’d come in early to get treatment," Torres said, "and then we’d work out with coach (Joe) Walker and the strength and conditioning staff. Then we’d come back and get more treatment later that night. At the very end we’d finish off with some stretching and trying to get the last bit of ice to make sure the swelling didn’t continue, kind of just a repetitive thing."

DEFENSIVE DEPTH | Someone had asked one day last week about the depth. The question was that DC Art Kaufman was a bit concerned about the depth, but Tuberville said that he had increased the talent, but I didn't recall him talking about depth. I went back and looked at the transcript over the weekend and that's wrong. Tuberville did talk about betting the depth. Tuberville also recounts all of that here with's Joe Yeager, saying that when arrived, there was little depth, that he played four non-scholarship players at the end of the year last year, and that the depth is getting better:

"We’re getting to the point now where we’ve got a rotation. We’re still one recruiting class away from offensive line depth and defensive depth. Then we’ll be at full strength. I think that’s really gonna pay dividends for us. But we’ll be much better on defense this year."

I think that the line and linebackers are a good two-deep, but I'm not even remotely close to be sold with the secondary being anything more than incredibly thin. Better hope no one gets hurt in the defensive backfield.

THE ONE-ARMED KICKER | K Seth Mannon is a transfer coming in, originally a preferred walk-on at LSU and he's got a unique story. Mannon was born without a left arm, but the other interesting thing is that he's 6-6/252. Mannon played for the College of Canyons last year and here's a good summary of his life-story.

MEET THE TWO-DEEP | It continues with LB Sam Eguavoen: