Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Sports News

Redbird Spring Camp Report: Offense Starting To Click

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[April 15, 2014]  NORMAL The spring football practice session has truly been a learning experience for the Illinois State offense, as new coordinator Kurt Beathard and his staff have begun to install new several new concepts and formations for the Redbirds. After a tough and busy day Tuesday, the offense seemed to click a bit Thursday afternoon at Hancock Stadium.

"The offense had a lot on its plate Tuesday trying to install some new schemes, and it showed with their performance," said head coach Brock Spack. "We expected that a bit and were interested to see how they would respond after watching the tape and making some adjustments. I think they responded well and had some success in the red zone and at the goal line. They still have a lot of time to work before we kick off the season in September, but I like the direction they are headed."

The regular practice script was reversed, with the team session focusing on work in the red zone coming before the regular 7-on-7 period. Practice began with punt return work, as Lechein Neblett, Jon-Marc Anderson and Anthony Warrum took turns fielding kicks from punter C.J. Laros. Individual position drills followed, and then the red zone work began.

The first-team offense was successful on its first try from the 24-yard line. A 9-yard completion from Blake Winkler to Neblett was followed by a sack by Teddy Corwin, which put the offense facing third down at the 20-yard line. Winkler took the snap and completed a strike to Scott Kuehn for the touchdown, and Nick Aussieker's extra point was good.

On the next series, the offense needed three plays to get going but picked up a first down on a 9-yard completion from Adam Pittser to Anderson. The defense then forced a three-and-out, and Aussieker came on to boot a 27-yard field goal. The third-team unit followed and needed just five plays to score on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Rea to Gage Beekman.

The ball then moved to the 17-yard line, and the defense forced a field goal with three quick stops on the first series. Fortunately, Sean Slattery's 29-yard field goal attempt missed wide right and the defense came away unscathed. A 32-yard field goal by Aussieker capped off the next set of plays, but his attempt on the sixth series was blocked by defensive tackle Cody Cameron. Slattery then redeemed himself on the seventh and final series with a 22-yard field goal.

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A quick goal line series followed, with a touchdown on the first play from 5 yards out by Marshaun Coprich starting things off. On the second series, running back James Graham carried three straight times before eventually scoring from 1 yard out.

Practice concluded with 7-on-7 work, and the Redbird quarterbacks were very efficient. Winkler finished the drill 13-of-15, including five touchdown passes, with two to tight end James O'Shaughnessy and one each to Neblett, Warrum and Michael Clements. Pittser finished 9-for-14 and threw a pair of touchdowns, one each to O'Shaughnessy and Clements. Kuehn and Anderson each added a pair of catches as well, and Graham led all players with five grabs out of the backfield.

The Redbirds returned to the field Saturday for their first scrimmage of camp, which was closed to the public.

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]

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