Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State football team suited up in full pads for the first the first time this spring Saturday, wrapping up their camp’s first week with a morning practice at Centennial Bank Stadium.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, but the energy was there – they wanted to play and guys were ready to hit,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “We’ve been holding them back for a few days. You could tell the defense was hungry to get out there and pop.”
The Red Wolves began their camp this past Tuesday and worked out in shorts and helmets back-to-back days before taking Thursday off. The squad returned to the field Friday afternoon in helmets and shoulder pads, but saw their first “live” action today.
“Some of it was good and some of it was bad, on both sides of the ball,” Anderson continued. “We made a couple of big plays offensively, but also had a lot of mistakes. The defense created some turnovers. I think there was a lot to teach off of, which is really what you are looking for on day four – what do we need to correct, and how can we get better between now and next Saturday.”
The Red Wolves’ fourth practice this spring was highlighted by a full-contact scrimmage that included approximately 40 plays. Junior running back Warren Wand broke a long run for the biggest gain by the A-State offense, which averaged 379.4 yards per game and went over 400 yards in five of the last nine regular-season games in 2016.
Senior cornerback Nehemia Wagner had an interception and the defense made several big plays behind the line of scrimmage as well. The Red Wolves ranked 29th and 19th in the nation last season in total defense and scoring defense, respectively.
“I really didn’t know what to expect with the changes and adjustments we made – just wanted to make sure guys play hard and physical, which I think they did,” said Anderson. “We’ll see how the film turns out, but I expected there to be mistakes and confusion. We’ve continued to install every day. To me, next Saturday is going to be a great evaluation. Things should start to calm down and make sense to them, and they should be able to react and play. Today there was a lot of thinking going on.”
A-State will hold four more practices next week, including Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:00 p.m. The Red Wolves will also a 9:30 a.m. practice Saturday, April 8, that will include an extended full-contact scrimmage.