CULLOWHEE, N.C. – For the first time this preseason, the Western Carolina Catamount football team hit the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field in full pads for two and a half hours on Tuesday afternoon. The fifth practice session of the 2013 preseason was among the most intense as hitting picked up, especially in competitive drills which pitted the offense against the defense.
“The guys got out there and got after it today. No one side dominated the other and that’s a good thing,” said WCU second-year head football coach Mark Speir following Tuesday’s practice. “Always this early in preseason, you’re going to see mistakes that we’ve got to get corrected, but overall, I thought they came out with good spirits and got after it.”
After three brief sessions including individual position and field goal/PAT work, the Catamounts got to hitting quickly in the fourth period of the practice. With pads lined along the 50-yard line, WCU battled through the “Cat Drill,” with one-on-one battles pairing similar positions against each other in an Oklahoma-style, competitive exercise. The defensive unit came out on top resulting in extra up-downs for the offense.
On one of the hottest days of the preseason, the Catamounts worked through 17 periods including approximately a 10-minute scrimmage session. At the conclusion of practice, the offense and defense again squared off in a short competitive drill with the offense coming out on top earning the defensive unit an extra conditioning rep.
Western Carolina will hold its first two-a-day practice on Wednesday, Aug. 7, practicing again in full pads beginning at 9:00 am before returning for a 7:30 pm practice in shells under the lights on Wednesday evening. WCU is slated to scrimmage on Saturday afternoon from 3:30 pm until 6:00 pm.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Samford football team held its fourth practice of fall camp with a two-hour workout in shells Tuesday afternoon at Seibert Stadium.
The practice was the second in shells for the Bulldogs, and the team will practice in full pads for the first time Wednesday. Co-Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Brandon Herring said he likes the effort the players have given so far during camp.
“I think the guys are giving effort and trying,” Herring said. “We’re working out some young guys and trying to get them some more reps, and they seem to be doing alright with it.”
One of the spots that has to be filled on the offensive line from last season is center. Sophomore Armando Bonheur made the move to center during the spring, and Herring says he continues to make progress since moving to the position.
“A lot of it is a learning process with him,” Herring said. “The last three years, we’ve had a center there, and he has played and started every single game. Now, you’re kind of starting over with a guy that’s never played there before. It’s kind of like every rep is a new thing for him, and he just has to continue to progress. But, he is really athletic and he’s intelligent. We just have to keep going and keep progressing every day.”
Herring pointed out some players on the offensive side who have caught his eye so far during the first week of camp.
“Karel Hamilton (wide receiver) has great hands,” Herring said. “He’s just one of those receivers who plucks the ball out of the air. Another wideout, Jeremy Brown, has had a really good camp so far. Andy Summerlin (quarterback) has been throwing the ball really well, and Tony Philpot (tight end) has had a good camp so far.
“Up front, Kasey Morrison and Kyle Champion are having good camps,” Herring said. “I think, athletically, we have some freshmen who are going to be alright. Whether they are ready to play or not, I don’t know. They have a long way to go, but I think, athletically, we have some good ones.”
STATESBORO, Ga. – Eagles aren’t ducks, so when a torrential rainstorm swept through Statesboro with 2.8 inches of rain in about two hours Tuesday evening, the Eagles soared indoors for a 75-minute walkthrough. Georgia Southern had a flex period and then broke into offensive and defensive squads and talked through plays and schemes for its second practice of the two-a-day. The Eagles had 16 periods of practice in full pads earlier in the day.
The spirited morning session featured good competition during the interaction, with both good plays on both sides of the ball and enough missed assignments to draw note. Georgia Southern Head Coach Jeff Monken reminded his team in his post-practice talk that the expectations are higher at Georgia Southern and the standards must be as well. Looking forward to the first two-a-day of the 2013 preseason, the Eagles had to go indoors to the University’s Recreation Activity Center where the reps took on more of the tempo of a walkthrough rather than a practice.
“We weren’t out there as long as we had been for a one-a-day practice, we cut it back and we did a little less interaction than the day before, but I thought there was good competition and good work,” said Georgia Southern Head Coach Jeff Monken. “Some guys are improving and we’re seeing some good things out of some of the young kids and we’ll just keep getting better."
The afternoon downpour, which started just a short time before the scheduled start of the second practice, changed up the team itinerary with the delay. Additional meetings and then dinner would put the Eagles back on the practice fields at 7 p.m. Soggy fields and continued rain brought out the yellow buses for a trip to the RAC with the offense in one of the multi-court spaces and the defense in the other.
“We weren’t able to be outside and spread out on a whole field where you can simulate a game environment, the experience isn’t the same in a gymnasium,” Monken said about moving practice indoors. “In the gym you can slow it down, though, and probably the young kids feel a little more at ease about learning. We also don’t get the pounding on the legs and maybe that keeps us fresher as we get into this stretch, starting Thursday, we have eight practices in five days, so that’s going to be a pretty tough stretch.”
Almost all the Eagles will have the day away from the practice fields on Wednesday with meetings and lifting at Iron Works in the morning and time to themselves in the afternoon. Georgia Southern linebackers Edwin Jackson and Kyle Oehlbeck will be in uniform briefly for a photoshoot for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s preseason football section. The Georgia Southern coaches will meet during the afternoon as a whole group and as offensive and defensive staffs before a team and positing meetings in the evening.
BOONE, N.C. — For the first time this season, Appalachian State University football donned full pads on Tuesday afternoon for its two-hour practice at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The first day in full pads brought with it some big collisions. None were bigger than a clean but vicious hit that true freshman outside linebacker Rashaad Townes laid on sophomore wideout Bobo Beathard during the first of two 11-on-11 periods near the end of practice.
As has been the case throughout camp, the 11-on-11 work that comprised two of the final three periods of the afternoon were dedicated to specific game situations. On Tuesday, the first featured third-down-and-short (four yards to go) and the second was dedicated to third-down-and-long (eight yards to go). As might be expected, the offense got the best of the defense in the third-and-short situations while the defense dominated the third-and-long period.
Starting quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson was particularly effective during the third-and-short plays, as he completed four-straight passes to open the period, three of which went for first downs. Beathard was on the receiving end of three of Londry-Jackson’s four completions but the only one that didn’t result in a first down came when Townes leveled him shortly after he caught a pass in the flat. Londry-Jackson’s streak came to an end when freshman linebacker Toronto Thomas broke up a pass across the middle.
Backup quarterback Kameron Bryant’s first pass was also incomplete but he followed up with two long completions to true freshman Dante Jones. Jones made two of the best offensive plays of the afternoon on the back-to-back catches from Bryant. On the first, he caught a short pass, juked around multiple defenders and scampered upfield for a long gain. On the very next play, he found a soft spot in the secondary up the seam and hauled in a long pass from Bryant.
The third-and-short period closed with a first-down run by true freshman running back Marcus Cox.
While the offense shined during the third-and-short period, the defense was even more impressive in third-and-long situations. The offense picked up first downs on just three of the 13 third-and-eight plays while the defense recorded five sacks and two interceptions during the 13-play period. Ronald Blair, Greg Milhouse and Chris Shaffer all recorded solo sacks while George Vinson and Deuce Robinson and Darian Small and Lee Wright teamed up for the other two sacks. Shaffer and T.J. Watkins notched the two interceptions.