New coaches turn up intensity in spring practices
The 2012 college football season is over five months away, but the NAU football team is preparing itself for a new Big Sky Conference. The Lumberjacks have been practicing for a little over three weeks now, including one scrimmage, and according to their head coach, are getting back to basics.
“We’ve been able to do a lot more team activity,” Jerome Souers said. “We’re getting in good fundamental work, good technique work.”
Additionally, the Jacks have been able to get more reps in game-like environments, earning the chance to play more on 11-on-11 instead of splitting up into groups, something that Souers has labeled a nice reward.
“What has been a pleasant surprise is our ability to scrimmage as much as we have,” Souers said. “We’ve had more actual live work at this point than we have as far back as I can remember.”
On offense, the Jacks will once again be led by quarterback Cary Grossart, who had an efficient junior season, throwing for 2,759 yards with 16 touchdowns and a 66 percent completion rate, and looks to improve on that in 2012. So far this spring, he has enjoyed the intensity level and how his teammates are playing with a fire and passion this early in the session.
“Its heating up,” Grossart said. “Coaches want you to get after it in live situations and see whose bodies are still ready to go. With [offense and defense], the exchanges are really good.”
Grossart, along with his teammates, has had to adjust new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. Even though the general concept on offense remains the same, the junior is tuned into what Scangarello wants to change and add to the playbook.
“Its a little bit different,” the California native said. “It has been a smooth transition. Coach Scang has done a real good job of introducing some new concepts. He’s a West Coast guy and has brought a lot of concepts from his past experiences. He communicates with us really well and its gotten us off to a fast and efficient start here in spring.”
The Lumberjacks will continue to practice for a few more weeks, including another scrimmage before engaging in the “Blue and Gold” spring game on April 28. All practices are open to the public, as well as the spring game, and take place on the practice fields just east of the Walkup Skydome.