Football coaches are always curious to see how their younger players will react when given their first real dose of varsity football.
Friday night, under the lights, at the Tomato Bowl the Jacksonville Fightin' Indian football team wrapped up spring practice with a Blue (defensive unit) vs. White (offensive unit) inter-squad scrimmage.
The teams went at it in two 12-minute controlled periods, and after a short break, squared off in a pair of 10-minute “live” quarters.
Perhaps, the best news of the evening was the play of several incoming-sophomores who will be leaned on heavy in the upcoming season.
With exactly 40-percent of the 83 young men that were on the scrimmage roster being incoming sophomores, their giving a strong account probably answered a few prayers sent up by the Tribe coaching staff.
“The defense started out slow and that put us in a bind,” Jacksonville head coach, Chris Taber, said. “But then we had a couple of the cross over (two-way) guys like Da Da Thacker and Jadarius Blake that helped us to get rolling on offense when we moved them over.
“After that, especially during the two live quarters, the younger kids stepped up and kept things going.”
The defensive unit had several different ways to score, including tackles for loss, holding the offense to three-and-out, fumble recoveries, quarterback sacks, interceptions, etc.
The score was knotted at 53 at the end of the two controlled periods.
The Indian offense moved in front 62-58 at the 7:50 mark of the opening segment of live action when Jacksonville quarterback Carter McCown connected with Ezell Woods on a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown play, that came immediately after the Tribe offensive coordinator Jamie Palmer had called a time out.
On the next offensive series, the Tribe defense rose to the challenge when Micah Edwards picked off Indian back-up quarterback Cameron High.