Posted 11 months ago
By John Axtell
CHADRON – The first week of football practice at Chadron State College was good, head coach Jay Long said Monday during the team’s off day.
“Our practices went well last week,” Long said. “Most of the players came back in good condition, so we were able to go to work on the things that are really important. So far we’ve been fortunate and we haven’t had many injuries of consequence.
“We put a big emphasis on scheme and technique and some of our young guys are spinning but our veterans came into camp in great shape and have been focused.”
Practices resume today at 4 p.m. in full pads. The Eagles will also practice in full pads the remainder of the week, including an 11 a.m. practice Saturday morning and an evening practice under the lights at Chadron High Sunday at 7. The Eagles first two games this year are both at night.
In particular, Larson cited junior Jojo Phillips and sophomore Cole Montgomery. He noted that both moved from running back and to safety last fall and saw lots of playing time on defense before the season ended. However, he said both are more confident in their assignments than they were a year ago.
Larson noted that sophomore linebacker Dylan Furrier has also blossomed. “Last year, he was all over the field, but sometimes didn’t make the play like he should have,” Larson said of Furrier. “This year, he’s finishing a lot better. It’s just part of the progress that young players usually have to go through.”
Stein said he’s seen the same progress by several of the young players on offense, particularly at wide receiver. “They’ve grown up and understand better what we want and what it takes to play,” he said.
Long has also been impressed by the play of the Eagles’ veterans. “The intensity of our older guys and how they’re handling themselves is really impressing me,” the coach said. “They have a lot of confidence and we’re building off that.”
All three coaches have good things to say about the freshmen, noting the class seems to have an abundance of talent. Long said it appears several of the newcomers are capable of playing immediately, although he hopes that’s not necessary in all but isolated instances.
Long added that the freshmen are getting more repetitions this year than those of a year ago usually had because some of their sessions for the newcomers have been separate from the varsity’s.
“We’ve had two or three of the graduate assistants spend most of their time with the freshmen during some of our practices,” Long said. “That way instead of standing in line waiting for the varsity players to go through an assignment, they are able to do their own things,” Long said. “We’ve liked the way it has worked so far.”