JSU Opens Spring Football Practice
The Jacksonville State football team got its quest for another Ohio Valley Conference title underway on Wednesday morning, when the Gamecocks opened spring practice for the 2015 season.
Second year head coach and reigning Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the YearJohn Grass was excited to get back on the practice field and start spring workouts. His Gamecocks, who finished the 2014 season ranked ninth after posting a 10-2 record and a perfect 8-0 mark in league play, will practice 15 times in the spring, with the final one being the annual J-Day Game on April 11.
"I's great to be back on the field," Grass said after the 7 a.m. workout in JSU Stadium. "What a wonderful day for practice. The weather was awesome and it was a good first day. They guys were upbeat and you can tell it is our third year. Everybody knows what they're doing, where they're going and what the expectations are."
The offensive coordinator in 2013 and the head coach in 2014, Grass is excited about some continuity going into what will be his third season calling the plays for what has been a record-breaking run for his offense. He sees that has already paid off in offseason workouts.
"That continuity is paying off," he added. "The leadership is a lot better than what it has been, and that has grown. We have matured in that area as a football team, and we don't have to push them so much. They push each other."
The first two workouts of the spring are non-contact workouts before throwing contact into the mix for the first time on Saturday morning. Grass said his team accomplished a lot on its first day out, starting with putting a football on the turf at Burgess-Snow Field.
"It's good to put a ball out," he said. "Where other sports get to have a ball out in their offseason, we don't get to do that. To be able to have a ball out, get some actual drill work done and throw the ball around, it's good to get out and do those things."
Grass was pleased with day one, noting his team looked like it was ahead of schedule to this point.
"We had a productive day," he mentioned. "As far as mentally getting through our assignments and where we are and not having busts, we looked like we were two weeks into it on our first day."
Grass also noted his staff's primary focus of the spring, which is building depth. He knows that's a focus around the country but hopes the Gamecocks can find a way to get a leg up on the competition in that area as the spring progresses.
"Building depth is our main focus," Grass said. "We want to get to where we are three-deep in most spots and where you can't tell a difference between our ones and twos. That's where we would love to be, and so would every team in the country. So we have to do something to set ourselves apart, and hopefully that will be accomplished this spring."
The Gamecocks were scheduled to practice on Thursday morning but postponed that workout until Friday because of the threat of inclement weather on Thursday.
(COURTESY: JSU Sports Information)