The Jacksonville State football team completed half of its two-a-day session this morning on the football practice field.
(A look at the new turf at Burgess-Snow Field in the featured video)
Head coach John Grass and his coaching staff focused on in-game situations, using the one-hour practice as a teaching tool leading up tonight's full-pads outing.
"You're always a little sore after an off day," Grass said. "We really didn't do a lot on Sunday, but we had a heavy, heavy practice yesterday. We took it a little lighter this morning. Tonight we'll get after it pretty good and bang around a pretty good bit. I thought we bounced around pretty well today, and I think it was a beneficial morning."
The team was in shells this morning, but will suit up in full uniform tonight to give it its familiar gameday feel. While the Gamecocks have practiced in full uniform multiple times this fall, tonight's practice brings them one big step closer to hitting the field a couple of Thursdays from now. It will be the first time the team has stepped onto the newly-renovated turf at Burgess-Snow Field.
"Everybody is excited about that," Grass said. "They're ready to get on the new turf. We'll get on the field tonight and try it out for the first time. It's good to have the turf redone, and the guys are really excited about it. I think it should be a really spirited practice."
Position Highlight: Linebackers
Backing up JSU's impressive defensive line is a deep linebacker unit. The preseason depth chart has Quan Stoudemire and JaJuan Lee anchoring the core at middle, sophomores Siran Neal and Selwyn Torbert at strongside, and Joel McCandless and Jalen Choice at weakside.
"You've got guys in there who've played before," Grass said. "Joel, JaJuan and Quan are all doing a good job, and we have newcomers like Jalen who are stepping up. That moves Jonathan Hagler down there to Will, so I think we've got a little depth there with guys who can make plays for us."
Grass is most impressed by the crew's physicality and willingness to improve at their craft.
"They're really a consistent group," Grass concluded. "That bunch watches a lot of tape and gives you a lot of effort. They're very physical, and they are detail guys who get the job done. Playing behind our defensive line makes it a good time to be a linebacker at Jacksonville State."
The Gamecocks kick off the 2016 schedule September 1 at Burgess-Snow Field when they host North Alabama at 6 p.m. Tickets for the Thursdaynight contest are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the JSU ticket office.
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information - www.JSUGamecockSports.com)