Defense solid for FHSU in scrimmage
By KLINT SPILLER
It wasn't a flashy spring game for the Fort Hays State University football team.
Only four touchdowns were scored: one on a kickoff return, one on an interception return and two during goalline situations -- out of six attempts from the 3-yard line.
However, that was to be expected. It was just a scrimmage, and the offense had plenty working against it.
The offense's backfield was filled with red jerseys, so any contact ended plays.
Quarterback Treveon Albert and running backs Ed Smith and Andre Smith battled injuries last season and were held out of contact this spring. Only running backs Shaquille Cooper and Nash Karst could be tackled.
Not only that, but three wide receivers, who were FHSU's best outside threats, were at a track and field meet, so the defense definitely had the advantage.
"We practice with the defense every day," Albert said. "If we are throwing to the inside and flats all practice all day because we don't have the outside receivers we need, the cornerbacks and safeties are going to come to the spring game ready to guard all the inside stuff because we can't go outside."
That said, the defense was solid all day.
The Tigers made it difficult for the offense to assemble drives throughout the scrimmage, stopped the offense on four of six goal line stands from the 3-yard line and had two picks -- one by senior Stephen Marcotte and another by junior Nate Lindsey.
"I thought our defense did very well," said FHSU third-year coach Chris Brown.
"They were running to the ball and making plays, holding our offense out of the end zone all day."
Albert, who came to FHSU originally as a quarterback and played wide receiver and running back in 2012, returned to the signal-calling role this spring and was named the spring starter.
With only 15 days of practice, Brown said he has seen quite a bit of progress, but said Albert will improve even more with summer practices.
"From Day 1 to Day 15 practice wise, he has really improved tremendously, getting his reads and getting his keys," Brown said.
"He'll get that timing down through the summer with his receivers. It's only 15 practices. That's not a lot of time to get yourself molded and ready to go."
The spring game was welcomed with overcast skies and mild temperatures, and near the end, the sun came out and brought even warmer weather -- a stark contrast from the frigid temperatures that accompanied much of football's spring practices, seemingly a reward for 15 days of grueling football.
"It was a beautiful day," Brown said.
Though the spring gave players a refresher, some of the key preparation will come during the summer. In order for the squad to be competitive, Brown said the team needs to have a large showing at summer practices.
"We need to get everybody here, everybody that is possible," Albert said. "We need to get 100 people here, 90 people here, as many as possible to get back here so we can start working out together."