JONESBORO (KAIT) – The Arkansas State football team held a 63-play scrimmage as part of its 12th practice Saturday morning at ASU Stadium, putting in the most extended full-contact work of its fall camp following several periods of special teams and individual drills.
But the contact came at a price. Cliff Mitchell tweaked his ankle and should be ok. According to AStateNation.com, Eric Allen was taken off on a backboard for precautionary measures. But the biggest blow may have been from a former Lake Hamilton quarterback. Phillip Butterfield went down during practice, as two blockers pushed into his left leg. Head coach Hugh Freeze said that "Butterfield was the most devastating today to take that. Looks like he's probably torn his ACL & that'll be a blow to us."
The offense got off to a nice start, scoring on a 67-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Aplin to wide receiver Allen Muse on the second play. However, the defense allowed only one more touchdown and forced 10 three-and-outs over the scrimmage's final 15 series. The defense also got a pair of interceptions from linebacker Demario Davis and safety Sterling Young, while five different players recorded a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
"Like I said after spring ball, I think the defense is going to be the strength of our team," said Freeze. "If they keep playing like they are now and eliminate the big plays, then I definitely believe they are athletic enough. Hopefully the special teams will be very solid and will manufacture a few points. We will get the offense better as the offensive line comes along. But I am pleased with the swagger the defense has and the way they feel about themselves and the job that the coaches are doing."
The offense's only other score also came on an Aplin-Muse connection, a 24-yard pass that capped a five-play drive that started on the defense's 40-yard line. The Red Wolves running game also produced some nice gains, including an 18-yard rush by Sherodrick Smith and a 17-yard run by Kyle Coleman.
A-State won't hold its next practice until Monday, when it actually hits the field twice with 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. workouts.