The first two workouts of the spring session were acclimation dates,
without full pads and contact, but the last two have been spirited,
and the clash of the pads has been present this week. As the spring
workouts continue, Spack looks forward to seeing if this team is as
physical as they have shown early on.
"We haven't seen the need
for a lot of full-contact work," Spack said. "Some teams you need to
(do) drills like that to improve their physicality and toughness.
However, this team has a few more veterans on it and doesn't seem to
need a lot of motivation with drills like that. We will find new
ways to get them pumped up and continue to evaluate them, and if we
need to do more contact work, we can do that."
The blitz drill set the tone for the day, with linebackers Andre
Allen and Soniel Estime making the big plays. On the second play of
the drill, Allen came off the end and brought down running back
Marshaun Coprich in the backfield. After that stop, quarterback
Blake Winkler got on a roll and completed five of six pass attempts.
Adam Pittser then came in and was intercepted by Estime, as he dove
in the flat to take a pass away from Jamal Towns.
For the first time this spring, the team also had some goal-line
work. The offense was tasked with coming out of their own end zone
at the 3-yard line, needing two first downs to win the drill. The
first-team unit succeeded, but the second- and third-team units
struggled against the strong defense.
A prolonged 7-on-7 period followed, with Winkler finishing
6-for-9 and Pittser going 4-for-6 during the drill. Receivers
Lechein Neblett, Scott Kuehn and Cameron Meredith had three
receptions each; with Meredith scoring the long play of the day on a
45-yard touchdown. Tight end James O'Shaughnessy was also targeted
several times and had two long gains on his two receptions.
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The team period followed, with each unit tasked to drive the
field, starting at the offense's 42-yard line. The first-team
offense struggled on its attempt, with Alex Donnelly and Teddy
Corwin forcing tackles for loss on the first two running plays of
the drive. A pass interference call on third down kept the drive
going, but two short rushes and a fumble on third down put an end to
The second drive also stalled, with the offense picking up just
one first down, on a reverse by Meredith. A pass breakup by Mike
Banks and a tackle for loss by Davontae Harris forced a long
third-down attempt, but a swing pass to Towns was 3 yards short to
end the run.
The team will return to practice Saturday at 10 a.m. at Hancock
news release received from
Illinois State University]