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Monday, April 12

ISU spring football report

Offense continues to shine     Send a link to a friend

[APRIL 12, 2004]  NORMAL -- Taking the field in shells, the Illinois State offense fed off the momentum from yesterday and continued its progress in Friday's practice at Hancock Stadium.

"I was really pleased with today's practice," head coach Denver Johnson said. "The pace was good. The attitude and the jazz level was really high. I thought we got after each other really well. I'm anxious to go inside and watch the film because I think there are going to be some good things on it."

Paving the way for the offense were quarterbacks Yance Vaughan and B.J. McCaslin. Sophomore wide receiver Jonathan Deloach caught a 40-yard pass from Vaughan, who later found Laurént Robinson and Mike Larson for a pair of 20-yard pass completions.

Continuing to raise the bar, McCaslin connected with Robinson for a 50-yard completion, the longest completion of the day.

The defense answered with quarterback sacks from both Anthony Kirkland and Rick Splant.

The anchor of the Redbird defense, Boomer Grigsby, is preparing for his final season at Illinois State, and Johnson is pleased with his linebacker's desire to continue to get better.

"[Boomer] realizes that at the next level the real challenge is going to be pass coverage, and he's working hard in that area; he has greatly improved," Johnson said. "He's a whole lot better now than he was at the end of last season in pass coverage, both man-to-man and zone-drop coverage. He continues to improve in every area, but I've seen a large improvement in his pass coverage skills."


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With one middle linebacker position locked up by consensus all-America Grigsby, the other position will be a fight between returnees Niall Campbell and Cameron Siskowic.

"Both Niall and Cameron can run, are very athletic and highly competitive," Johnson said. "Niall should put himself in a position to begin a -- hopefully -- very illustrious career, and Cameron is just a step ahead of him as far as eligibility goes. If Cameron can stay away from some of the injury problems he has had in the past, he should be able to really have a good year for us too."

The Redbirds' first scrimmage of spring camp was scheduled for Saturday morning, and Johnson indicated he would be interested in particular offensive situations.

Johnson said, "We want to have a good first-and-10 situation scrimmage and a good third-down situation scrimmage. We will do a little red zone and goal line tomorrow, but it's just kind of a generic scrimmage. We will have officials here, so we're anxious to get those guys on the field and kind of clean up some of our play."

[Todd Kober, director of athletics media relations,
Illinois State University]

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