Second scrimmage for FHSU
By CONOR NICHOLL
The Fort Hays State University football team reached Day 11 of training camp for its second scrimmage Thursday afternoon. By this point, school has started, the temperature is over 100 degrees and the first game is still two weeks away.
"That first week of camp is just football and now when you get school involved with it, there is a lot of different things and a lot of distractions," third-year coach Chris Brown said. "They have got to get back down to earth and figure out we are playing football right now and we have got to get to work at football and worry about the classroom as well."
The Tigers have been inconsistent this week and that trend continued during the scrimmage. Senior Stephen Marcotte, the team's most experienced player with 31 games played, left with an apparent hand injury.
A few bright spots came on defense with redshirt freshman defensive back Alex Schmidtberger, senior defensive lineman Basil Bandy and junior defensive lineman Joita Te'i, a transfer from Mt. San Antonio (Calif.).
"Schmidtberger is filling in right where I thought he would fill in," Brown said. "He is doing a great job."
Bandy, who had four pass breakups last season, has knocked down multiple passes throughout camp. On Thursday, he deflected an Edin Kovac pass that sophomore Jalen Hill picked off.
"We go through it everyday in practice," Bandy said. "Feed off each other from the 1s to the 2s to the 3s. You just try to get better every day and make plays. To block a pass, you just try to get a good pass rush first of all and try to get our hands up when we see the quarterback about to release the ball. It's been hard. I am getting better at it everyday. We are as a whole defensive line."
Bandy also forced a sack and had a quarterback hurry. Te'i, at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, batted down a pass.
"I am real impressed with Joita at the defensive end position," Brown said. "He has got a big body, long, lengthy."
Freshman wideout Isaiah Maxi forced a pass interference call in the end zone on sophomore defensive back Raheeme Dumas.
Brown rested some offensive starters, including running backs Andre Smith and Edward Smith and wideouts Keaton Callins and Tanner Hageman saw little time. Sophomore lineman Matt Erbert will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last Sunday in the first scrimmage. True freshman Trevor Shankle has worked at tackle in Erbert's absence.
"It felt like we didn't have any enthusiasm, no excitement," Brown said. "Our motors weren't going offensively or defensively. If you don't have any of that, then you are not going to be very good."
Brown delivered a fiery message to the team post-scrimmage and wideout coach Al McCray took his position and ran through some drills with a blocking sled, punishment for not playing well. The offense - even in goal line situations - only had two bright spots.
"We just couldn't get anything going," Brown said. "We had some dropped balls. We had some balls thrown behind. Hitting the holes, we weren't getting a lot of movement up front as well. Those are things that we have got to work on."
Sophomore quarterback Treveon Albert scored a touchdown on a run and he broke another long run earlier in practice. Albert and backup Kovac struggled throwing deep down the field; Brown said "timing" on those plays needed to improve. Fort Hays was expected to take today off before resuming camp Saturday morning.
"One of the things that we are really trying to get at these kids is being mentally tough and getting physical," Brown said. "You are going to get tired, but you have got to fight through those times and make things happen for you. We are just not quite there yet. We have got two weeks to get them there."