D has upper hand in A-State's 1st practice in pads; some full contact on tap for Friday
JONESBORO - Arkansas State held its third spring practice Thursday with few surprises. The defense proved more consistent than the offense, and the entire team struggled some late in their first practice in pads.
With another practice scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, the Red Wolves are holding a pair of back-to-back practices this week after working out in shorts and helmets Monday and Tuesday.
A-State will practice on consecutive days only one more time during its spring camp, taking the field three straight days April 16-18.
"Today was good early, but we drug a little at the end and had to extend some periods that have been shorter the first couple of practices," A-State head coach Blake Anderson said. "We challenged them the last five minutes and they picked it back up, which was good."
Arkansas State returns 50 lettermen made up of 27 defensive and 21 offensive players and two specialists. The Red Wolves' defense also returns eight starters, including the entire secondary and linebacker positions.
"The defense has performed the way you expect (early in camp)," Anderson said. "Defense is reactionary, so we saw them flying around some today as they should be. It will take the offense a little while to catch up. There are a lot of X's and O's going through their minds right now, so you can really see them thinking. They made some nice plays today, though, with a couple of big runs and catches and even got the ball in the end zone a couple of times. So we saw some sparks, but I expect the defense to be a little further ahead and they were today."
Arkansas State will suit out in full pads for the first time Friday. Although the team will conduct a full-contact session running approximately 10 minutes at the end of practice, the other periods will be mostly controlled hitting according to Anderson.
"Tomorrow will be another day of install and a heavy day of teaching, so there minds will be going," said Anderson. "We don't normally go back-to-back days with this much hitting, so they should be a little sore. We'll be careful, but we're going to get in a good 10-minute session of live football."
Season tickets for the 2014 campaign are on sale at the A-State Ticket Office, located at the Convocation Center's lower red entrance. The ticket office can also be contacted at 870-972-2781 and tickets may be purchased online at tickets.astate.edu.