JSU ready to put on pads Tuesday
by Al Muskewitz
Aug 05, 2013 | 2403 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville State's Bill Clark will see his team in full pads Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Jacksonville State's Bill Clark will see his team in full pads Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
JACKSONVILLE -- Phase One of Camp One with Bill Clark is in the books. Now, the Jacksonville State football team turns to perhaps the most important phase of preseason practice.

The Gamecocks have been working out in helmets, shorts and shells the last four days. They move into full pads for the first time today, upping the physicality Clark wants to see.

"To me that's everything about where we're going to go," Clark said. "I talk to them about toughness and what is toughness. It's kind of an old-school word and for us it's just a state of mind. How we take the field. How we come out of the break. How we make contact.

"It's what the game is all about. That's the state we want to play all the time; the point from Play One to Play 100. We want to play like that all the time."

Clark said he saw some signs of a physical mindset in the spring. He noted the defense got off blocks and tackled better in the spring game than they'd shown on film, but he still believes "that's going to be a work in progress for us."

Finding a way to improve defensively is one of the biggest tasks in camp and something near to the heart of Clark, who was South Alabama's defensive coordinator before coming to JSU. Even though the Gamecocks enjoyed a 10th straight winning season last year, they were ranked 100 or worse nationally in several of the major defensive statistical categories.

As for the closely charted quarterback race, Clark reported it still is running neck-and-neck.

"I still think it'll come down to game stuff, scrimmages," he said. "They're all doing a little better than I thought. I was pleased with them coming out of the spring and they've grown up some more.

"It's nice to see Max (Shortell, the transfer from Minnesota) get acclimated to the heat. He's coming on, but the others are coming on well, too."

He said no players have been moved yet, but that could change after today and Wednesday's first day of two-a-days.
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