With seven defensive back signees yet to arrive and Garry Peters temporarily on the shelf because of study hall-related issues, secondary coach Mike Reed and defensive coordinator Brent Venables are working with limited numbers this spring.
The pool of players got a little more shallow on Friday when first-semester freshman safety Jadar Johnson suffered a dislocated elbow during practice.
Johnson tweeted about his injury Friday evening: 'One of the worst days of my life. Dislocated my elbow today, gettin behind on the game I love.' It is not yet known how long Johnson will be sidelined.
Venables said Friday that the positive side of the small numbers is that younger players are getting plenty of reps.
"Sure, you'd like to have everybody here," Venables said. "But what I do think it does is with the guys who are here, they're getting a ton of reps. When Garry gets back, we'll have four corners to work with. And at safety we have some young guys who are taking a bunch of reps."
While the Tigers are low on numbers in the secondary, Venables said he's pleased with his front seven and the confidence gained from their performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU.
"When you have guys beating guys one on one and you know what that does to an offense, it helps a lot," Venables said. "You saw that in the LSU game with them playing behind the chains on second down because guys were beating guys on first and 10. It makes a big difference. Hopefully that will develop in the spring.
"During the first half of the year we didn't put much pressure on the quarterback and weren't beating guys one-on-one, then we dramatically picked that up. Against great teams, you have to be able to do that. People are better now at blocking you. Linemen are more intelligent, and they've seen all the exotic looks. Those guys up front, you have to whip them one-on-one to be successful."