MONTICELLO — The Arkansas-Monticello football team has completed the first week of spring practice.
Coach Hud Jackson and his staff were eager to get back on the field and begin preparations for 2012. Conditions were damp, but not rainy, for the three days of work leading into spring break this coming week.
“The conditions were good, the rain kept things cool, but the fields were able to dry enough to work outside, which is always preferable,” Jackson said.
Jackson is excited with what he has seen out of his players in their first week of spring practices.
“We had a very productive series of practices this week,” he said. “There was good enthusiasm and a high tempo from all 83 guys on the field.”
The 2012 Weevils will have just 13 seniors returning to the Cotton Boll in the Fall, so it is imperative that the coaches find who will be able to step up right out of the gate for UAM’s season opener on Sept. 1 against Shepherd Tech.
“There is solid competition at every position as we come into the Spring,” according to Jackson. The team depth is solid with 83 already practicing.
“We are currently three-deep at almost every position,” he said. “That allows for not only healthy competition at every spot, but also gives our guys a chance to get the breaks they need to stay fresh and at the top of their game.”
However, depth also leads to many unanswered questions this early in the process. “There are unknowns on both sides of the ball,” Jackson said.
The offensive line will need to be fleshed out, as it lost several key components from last season.
“The young guys got some experience last season, but it is time to see who will step up and give us what we need to win games,” Jackson said.
Quarterback is also up for grabs this year with stiff competition all around. On the defensive end there are “some questions in the linebacker corps that will have to work themselves out,” said Jackson.
“The defensive line has been a bright spot early with some surprises out of guys who’ve really stepped up their games from last season,” he said.
Special teams also has some gaps to fill from last season, but as special teams coach, Jackson already has his special teams unit working to get into mid-season form.
“We’ve got two good kickers and we are going to have to see who can shine in the pressure situations that those jobs require,” The coverage teams are working as well to bring their skills back into form, “our meetings and practices have been focused and intense which is what I need to see out of these guys (on all sides of the ball) every day.”
The team will be off for a few days during Spring Break, but they will return on Wednesday to begin again.
“Spring Break will be a good rest for our guys and our staff to mentally prepare for the grind ahead,” Jackson said. “Everyone needs a chance to get away and relax for a few days.”
After the break the teams will come back with a purpose. There will be a few days conditioning in the weight room to get everyone back into playing form before full practices resume on Friday. All the preparation will be on display on March 31 for the first intersquad scrimmage of the season. The scrimmage will take place in Convoy Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium at 10 a.m.