SATURDAY, OCT. 9, 2010, 6:06 A.M.

Akey pleased with bye week

The Vandals, off today during their one bye week of the season, had two lively practices Thursday and Friday before taking today off. We've got an update below on tailback Princeton McCarty -- he's expected to play next week with a broken finger -- and more.


McCarty, the Vandals' starting running back who missed last week's win at Western Michigan, is lugging around a medium-sized cast on his left hand. He had three screws put into left pinkie last week but should be able to go at Louisiana Tech next week, coach Robb Akey said.

"Now I expect it depends on how bad it hurts or whatnot," Akey said, "if he’ll be able to handle the ball with that pinkie protected. My expectation is that he’s available to us right now."

Players took Sunday through Wednesday before coming back to the Kibbie Dome for two no-pad practices. They'll reconvene Sunday afternoon for the first preparations for LTU.

You might expect bye-week, no-pad practices to be humdrum. But that wasn't the case during a heated scrimmage toward the end of Friday's practice -- when Preston Davis ended it with a nice grab in the end zone over Gary Walker -- or even the day before.

"I was really happy," Akey said. "(Thursday’s) practice, they were out here 15 minutes before we started with specialists. So that tells me they’re anxious to get going again. They had great focus throughout the practice, and they did that again today. I like a lot what I’ve seen."

After the starters and upperclassmen ran through a scrimmage, the Vandals had what they call their scout bowl. All scout-team players were in pads for a mock game, while the regulars were spectators on the sideline.

Two scouts players who stood out: Freshman defensive lineman Maxx Forde and transfer running back Ryan Bass. Bass, a transfer from Arizona State who's sitting out this year, glided the down the far sideline at one point for a lengthy gain. His speed was a bit too much to handle for most of the scout defense.

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