Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

April 5, 2014

Blazers looking for more consistency

VALDOSTA — Through their first eight spring practices, the Valdosta State Blazers have shown glimpses.

And the lack of intensity as last week wound down is a thing of the past.

Still, when the Blazers hit the practice field at 9 a.m. today for their second scrimmage, coach David Dean is still hoping to see a little more.

“More consistency and we’re always coaching effort,” Dean said, as VSU will then have just four more practices prior to the Blazers’ spring game  at 10 a.m. April 12.

“Flying to the ball on defense and finishing off blocks on offense, finishing off plays whether it be routes or catches or whatever.

“We’re going to be grading that very hard when we go look at the film on Sunday.”

Before they get there, though, Dean is hopeful they can get more consistent. Other than that, he has been pleased with the playmaking abilities shown by both the offensive and defensive units during the spring period. That ability was flashed during Monday’s scrimmage as well.

“We had some positive things offensive and some positive things defensively, which is good to see because one side of the ball didn’t dominate the scrimmage,” he said. “I think we had a lot of guys on both sides of the ball make some plays. But I think we’re still lacking a little bit of consistency. We have guys making plays but not every single time.

“But we’re still in the learning process. That’s why we practice.”

One area the Blazers weren’t consistent during Friday’s eighth practice was hauling in passes, as coaches mentioned drops repeatedly during the workout. However, that wasn’t an issue for junior college transfer Shane Henderson. The former Hancock College standout, who signed with the Blazers this spring and is in his first semester at VSU, routinely caught anything close to him.

“He’s got good hands and he’s doing very well,” Dean said. “He’s one of those that works hard and wants to get better.”

That followed a disappointing ending to the Blazers’ first week of practice where they were on the field six straight days to open the spring. While expected, Dean still wasn’t happy with the loss of enthusiasm during that time. But since the first scrimmage, along with a couple days off since, that hasn’t been a problem again.

“I realize they were a little fatigued and they’re not used to that kind of workout,” he added. “You can go in the weightroom and lift all you want, but when you come out here pounding on each other and running for two hours, it gets kind of difficult.

“I understand that but you still like to see those guys’ effort. But this week, we’ve had great effort.”

Banged-up Blazer

Sophomore defensive end John Gray went down near the end of practice during 11-on-11 drills with an apparent right knee injury. The former Colquitt County standout, who is 6-foot and 258 pounds, was helped off the field as the Blazers finished practice moments later.

Dean said the status of Gray’s knee won’t be known until after tests are ran.

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