Friday, April 13, 2012
Sports News

Spring Camp Report 8:
Redbirds seeing red

Send a link to a friend

[April 13, 2012]  NORMAL -- Now officially halfway through its spring workout period, the Illinois State football team turned its focus to scoring in the red zone Thursday during the eighth practice of the spring at Hancock Stadium.

The Redbirds scored 85 percent of the time they were in the red zone in 2011 and scored a touchdown 63 percent of the time, both very respectable numbers for a collegiate football team. However, the intention is to score every time, and ISU head coach Brock Spack made that clear his players after practice.

"When a team gets in the red zone, it's crucial to come away with points," Spack said. "We were good in the red zone last year, but I want our team to have the mentality to score every time they are down there. Our offense did a good job today of getting into the end zone, but we did miss some chances. It's also good for the defense to be put into a situation like that, with their backs against the wall, to see how they respond."

The early focus was on special teams, as punters Patrick Wright and Mike Wood took turns punting out of the end zone with pressure coming in a drill that focuses on getting the kick off without a block or safety. Both worked quickly and sent punts to Lechein Neblett and Donovan Harden, who returned kicks to give the coverage team a good look.

In a change from its normal situation, the 7-on-7 drill was moved into the red zone to clean up routes and play calling. Quarterback Matt Brown was solid and found Corey Shandrick for a 25-yard touchdown to start off the drill, before the line of scrimmage moved to the 17-yard line. Brown liked that distance as well, as he threw back-to-back touchdowns to Cameron Hunt and Shandrick before Justin Lane got into the action and connected with Chick Chatham for a score.

The line moved closer to the 12-yard line and Brown and Shandrick connected for the third time for a touchdown, and Darrelynn Dunn also caught a score from Brown. The drill was capped off with a 5-yard touchdown pass on a fade route to the corner of the end zone from Brown to Shandrick.

[to top of second column]

The situation then drastically changed in the first-team session, as the offense was backed up on its own 2-yard line with the task of getting a first down. The first-team unit upped the ante when Brown connected with Neblett for a 98-yard touchdown score to start things off. From there, the defense controlled the exercise with a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Pat Dougherty, a sack by Nate Palmer and fumble recovery by Pat Meehan.

The team red zone session followed and the first-team offense needed just two plays to score from 24 yards out, as Brown found Tyrone Walker for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The second-team unit could not capitalize on its first try, as a 42-yard field goal by Matt Cotiguala missed right to halt the drive.

Round two for the first team did not go as smoothly either, as back-to-back sacks by Palmer and Colton Underwood backed the team up to the 21-yard line from the 12. The drive stalled, as Ezra Thompson made a diving interception at the goal line on a pass from Brown. The second team put a cap on the drill with a 28-yard touchdown by Hunt before the focus moved to the goal line, where Brown found James O'Shaughnessy for a 3-yard touchdown pass on a leaping grab in the back corner of the end zone.

The Redbirds will have their first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, which will be closed to the public.

[Text from news release received from Michael Williams, Illinois State University]

< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor