Spring Practice Report #12
After a period of fundamentals work through team offensive and defensive, special teams and one-on-one drills, the Eagles moved into skeleton and full offense versus defense drills.
The Eagles continue to build upon previous practices, with the defense continuing to produce big plays, totaling three sacks and a pair of interceptions. Quentin Taylor (
Both Matthew Rucker (Lilburn/Parkview) and Jermaine Murphy (Kennesaw/Harrison) used their quick hands to pick off a pass.
The offense proved just as effective as the defense in scrimmage action. Quarterback Lee Chapple (Norcross/Greater Atlanta Christian) connected with Darrell Norman (Lincoln/Lincoln County) for a touchdown. On foot, Ri'Chard Davis (Fayetteville/Fayette County) and Ricky Ponton (
With only two spring practices remaining before the Blue-White game presented by the Georgia Neighborhood Ford Dealers on Saturday, second-year head coach Chris Hatcher is pleased with how things are shaping up, but notes that there is still room for improvement.
“I thought we did well,” said Hatcher. “I think both the offense and defense are getting better. We’re getting a little more conditioned and playing a little more physical football. Thursday’s going to be a big day for us. We’ll get after it pretty good on Thursday. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of improvement in every facet of the game.”
Transitioning from shells on Monday to full pads today brought with it the opportunities to show their intensity.
“When we’re in helmets it is full speed,” said Hatcher. “They like to tackle; they like to do all of that. But our intensity has been good, pretty much throughout the whole spring. Today we were in full pads but we didn’t do a whole lot of full tackling drills. We’re going to save that until Thursday.”
DEFENSIVE LINE RETURNS THREE STARTERS, TWO ALL-SOCON:
Senior Larry Beard (Fairburn/Sandy Creek) earned First Team All-Southern Conference honors by both the coaches and Sports Media Association. Fellow senior Damon Suggs (Lithonia/Southwest DeKalb) was a Second Team pick by the league’s head coaches. Beard made 32 tackles, including a team-leading four sacks, and returned one of the three fumbles he recovered for a touchdown. Suggs, who played as a true-freshman, made 41 tackles last fall after accumulating only seven stops during his first two years.
Another senior Matt Wise (Hazlehurst/Jeff Davis) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the win at Appalachian State. He continues his recovery but cannot participate in contact drills.
Several other upperclassmen also return, which makes the defensive line one of the deepest positions on the team. Seniors Casey Wingard (Acworth/Etowah) and Branden Daniel (Pompano Beach, FL/Ely) along with juniors Kerry Bonds, Charwell Brown (Brunswick/Brunswick), Jonathan Loving (Fayetteville/Fayette County) and sophomores Austin Watts (Fayetteville/Starr’s Mill) and Antonio Solomon (Savannah/Jenkins).
Defensive Coordinator Ashley Anders likes the way line is progressing, in spite of depth issues.
“I see them getting better. The thing of it is that we don’t have a whole lot of depth right now. The guys that are going, I think they see that and I think they’re actually enjoying it because they get to be on the field with more snaps and are getting more reps. You can tell that it’s taking a toll because the more reps they’re getting, they’re gradually getting better and better each practice,” said Anders. “Casey Wingard has had minimal playing time in the past and now he’s come on and is doing a great job. He’s physical and tough in the trenches and he’s a guy that’s come on in the last four or five practices and has done a good job. Larry Beard and Damon Suggs have been solid all year; we’ve been real pleased with their progression as well. They are the ones who stand out from the get go. Kerry Bonds is another guy who saw limited action last year and that’s come on. He decided that he wants to get on the field and get in the mix, so he’s doing a good job this spring also.”
BLUE-WHITE GAME TO BE SPONSORED BY FORD: This year's annual Blue-White game will be presented by the Georgia Neighborhood Ford Dealers. The game is scheduled for Saturday, April 12th at Paulson Stadium. Play-by-play voice Chris Blair and color analyst Terry Harvin will broadcast the game on Eagle 102.9 FM and via the internet at www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com. The radio show will begin 30 minutes before the 1 p.m. kickoff. Check with the Athletics Department website for all the latest details.
CONSTRUCTION AT PAULSON UPDATE: Due to renovations on the north side (visitor sideline) concourse area at Paulson Stadium, restrooms and the concession stand area on that side will not be available. Fans are encouraged to use the facilities on the south side concourse.
SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
(dates/times subject to change... all times at 8 a.m. unless otherwise noted)
Thursday, April 10 (full)
Friday, April 11 (shorts)
Saturday, April 12: Blue-White game presented by the Georgia Neighborhood Ford Dealers (1 p.m.)
- Category: Football
- Published on Tuesday, 08 April 2008 00:01