Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sports News

ISU Spring Camp Report 10

Defense finds the end zone

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[April 18, 2012]  NORMAL -- Throughout the course of spring football camp, both the Illinois State offensive and defensive units have had strong days and at times gone back and forth with momentum throughout practice. However, that was not the case Tuesday, when the defense dominated the offense throughout practice No. 10 at Hancock Stadium.

Head coach Brock Spack was impressed with what he saw out of his unit on the field but reminded them that their time to continue to get better is quickly winding down.

"The defense really got after the offense in that last team session today and forced some big turnovers," Spack said. "The pressure caused a lot of problems in the passing game. That happens throughout camp, and I expect the offense to learn from their mistakes, correct what they see on film and get much better Thursday. We really only have three full-contact practices left before the spring game, so time is running out, and we still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the football."

Momentum began to swing the defense's way at the end of the blitz drill, as Josh Burch capped off the session with a leaping interception off a pass from Adam Pittser. The offense bounced back during the first team session, as quarterback Matt Brown completed all five of his pass attempts and Darrelynn Dunn had several strong carries.

The 7-on-7 work was next, and Brown stayed consistent, as he completed 10 of his 11 attempts, with two completions each to James O'Shaughnessy, Donovan Harden and Lechein Neblett. Cameron Meredith was also solid, completing four of his six attempts with three connections to Milton Colbert. The defense also had its moments in the drill, with a pass breakup from Matt Goldsmith and an interception by Adam Rebholz on the final play.

Following that drill, the second-team session began and the defense took over. The first-team offense was forced off the field on two consecutive three-and-out drives by the first team defense, with the first drive being halted on a sack by Mike Zimmer and the second ending after a breakup by Goldsmith on third and long.

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The second-team unit did have success, as Meredith led the offense on a five-play scoring drive that was capped off by a 45-yard touchdown pass to Colbert as he forced several missed tackles on the way to the end zone.

Not wanting to be shown up, the defense immediately responded on the first play of the next drive with a touchdown of its own. Brown's arm was hit by Colton Underwood as he attempted to throw a pass to the flat, which caused the ball to fall off target and fall into the hand of Nate Palmer, who returned the interception 41 yards for the touchdown. The first-teamers got another shot on the next drive, but it started with a sack by Shelby Harris on the first play and ended on the second play, when Zimmer pulled down a tipped pass and returned it 36 yards for the score.

The second-team unit finished the day by forcing another three-and-out series, after a pair of rushes by Chad Zastrow gained just 1 yard and a pass from Meredith to Colbert was incomplete.

The Redbirds will return to the field Thursday at 3:30 p.m. for practice No. 11 of spring camp.

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

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