The Jacksonville State football team put on full pads for the first time on Tuesday afternoon in a workout that saw a brief and welcome shower that cooled things off.
The Gamecocks hit the field at 3 p.m. and worked in the heat and sunshine for about an hour before a rain shower brought cloud cover and a breeze to the practice field. Head coach John Grass thought that quick shower pushed his guys through the end of practice on JSU's fifth day of fall camp.
"It was a good practice," he said. "It was physical, and the rain kind of gave us a break from the heat. With the cloud cover it hasn't been as hot the last two days, and we've been fortunate to get the last two practices in with all of the weather we've had around us."
Being in full pads didn't change much for the Gamecocks from their two previous days in shells, but Grass mentioned it offers a little more security to his guys in those contact drills.
"Being in full pads doesn't change practice a whole lot for us, because we try to keep guys off of the ground," Grass said. "The guys like being in full pads because it protects their knees a little bit."
The second-year head coach continued to like what he has seen so far in fall camp. The reigning Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year pointed out improvement across the field for his team, one that has had some early bumps and bruises but nothing major.
"I'm continuing to see our team progressing and getting better everywhere on the field," he added. "We have some guys banged up here and there, but that comes with camp. I don't think there's any football team that doesn't have a few guys banged up and miss a practice here and there."
Grass praised the maturity of his team that has 12 Preseason All-OVC players and is picked to repeat as OVC Champions this fall. The Gamecocks' next test will come Wednesday morning, when they begin their first two-a-day workout.
"I like the maturity of our football team, the tempo of practice and the energy they're bringing to practice," Grass said. "Our heavy practice will be in the morning, so the key is really recovering from this practice and getting ready for the one in the morning. Tomorrow night will be more of a kicking game practice for us. It will be the first two-a-day, so I'm interested to see how we will handle it."
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information)
JSU's season opener is set for September 5th at Chattanooga.