The Redbirds used the day to get re-acclimated to the field and
worked on putting in new plays and terminology they learned in the
offseason. Over the two-hour practice, the focus was on fundamentals
as the team worked on individual drills for most of the time.
thought this was a good start," said head coach Brock Spack. "On
this first day, we are really just trying to get the players back in
the mindset of playing football and focusing on their technique. We
didn't throw a lot of new things at them today, so they could just
focus on playing fast. The emotion was good throughout the day and
they made some mistakes, but we will watch the film and try to
correct those when we come back out tomorrow."
The biggest story of the day was the return of senior wide
receiver Lechein Neblett to the field, after he missed the entire
2013 due to a knee injury suffered during fall camp. Neblett was
joined by redshirt freshman receiver Jon-Marc Anderson, who also
returned to the field after suffering the same injury. Both wore
braces but looked crisp in one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills.
After individual drills and install sessions for both the offense
and defense had concluded, the team session began with the first
11-on-11 action of the day. Without pads on, the players had to
quell their excitement and avoid contact, but the session was still
crisp, with players flying to the ball and back, running hard, and
hitting their holes.
Sophomore running back Marshaun Coprich looked strong, breaking a
couple of long runs. After Coprich ripped off a couple of strong
runs, sophomore quarterback Blake Winkler took to the air. He
completed passes to Cameron Meredith and James O'Shaughnessy, before
safety-turned-linebacker Soniel Estime broke up the rhythm with a
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Tackles for loss by Will Pretty, defensive tackle Dalton Keane
and Teddy Corwin followed, as the offense honed in on its running
attack. The offense shook off the losses and took back to the air,
as quarterback Trevor Rea found Meredith for a 65-yard touchdown
pass down the sideline. Alex Donnelly ended that momentum quickly,
as he blew up an attempted pitch on an option play and left Spack
stating that running back Jamal Towns might have needed help getting
off the turf if the pads were on.
The session ended with Winkler connecting with O'Shaughnessy on a
55-yard touchdown pass, and field goal work ended practice as
The Redbirds were scheduled to return to the field Sunday
afternoon for the second practice of the spring at Hancock Stadium.
news release received from
Illinois State University]