JONESBORO (AStateRedWolves.com) – The Arkansas State football team was back on the field Tuesday for a pair of practices, including a morning workout that featured a full-contact scrimmage.
The Red Wolves held their third two-a-day practice sessions, taking the ASU Stadium field in full pads at 10:30 a.m. and the practice fields at 7 p.m. in shorts and helmets. The practices counted as ASU's 14th and 15th of the year since reporting for fall camp.
The morning practice featured approximately seven practice periods before the Red Wolves started a 40-play scrimmage, their third of the year. Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin led the offense on a pair of scoring drives, capped with rushing touchdowns by junior Sirgregory Thornton and sophomore Frankie Jackson.
"For the most part I felt like our guys bounced back," said head coach Gus Malzahn about the scrimmage. "The last time we kind of hit a wall, but we had some guys get after it today and it was good to see. We didn't have a real long scrimmage and tried to zero in on some specific guys, so there were some of the older guys who did not participate in the scrimmage."
"I thought it was much better today," offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said following the morning practice. "We scrimmaged today, but it was a little bit shorter than the first two (scrimmages), and offensively we were much better with our tempo. We didn't have any turnovers, which was a big emphasis from our last scrimmage. We had some adversity out there when we had a touchdown called back and some other scenarios that are going to come up in games, and I thought for the most part our guys had a good attitude about it.
"Today was our third scrimmage and we have an off day tomorrow," continued Lashlee. "We plan to come back on Thursday and really start to slowly switch gears. We've got to start preparing for an opponent, and we've got to get our guys in the positions we think they are going to be in. We have to get a 2-deep, start getting reps for the guys that are going to play on Saturday and start working on a game plan.
The Red Wolves used their second practice to focus on special teams work.
"It was just strictly a special team night, which was good" Malzahn said. "We worked on a lot of special situations that come up in a game that in the course of a season when you get into your routine you don't really get to a chance to cover because of the time factor. So it was good, and we just wanted to make sure our guys are prepared for every situation."
"We had a lot of situations to go over and our motto is special teams win special games," said running backs coach and special teams coordinator Eli Drinkwitz. "We've got to be prepared in those special situations to execute. Tonight was one of those mental nights where you walk through all the alignments, rules and all the different things that can happen and just make sure that you are prepared to do your job when it shows up."