With over 100 players out for spring football, the Bryant Hornets' six-man coaching staff has its hands full. Usually that kind of ratio means that the younger guys get less work but, thanks to some volunteers, that's not the case so much this spring.
"My original plan was just to not dress everybody out and just work our first three groups," said head coach Paul Calley. "We've got almost five groups and we don't have enough coaches to work them. But we've got some former players, Sam Tucker, Drew King and Ethan Powell, who are both helping on the offensive side of the ball. Ethan Passmore is helping on the defensive side of the ball. Garrett Bock, he's injured, but he's helping the young receivers. So I've got enough people volunteering their time that know what they're doing to help us that it has allowed us to get all of our young people a lot of good reps. Without those guys volunteering their time, there's no way we could've done that."
Calley mentioned that former Arkansas Razorbacks assistant and Henderson State head coach Ken Turner will be at practice later this week to work with the Hornets kickers. Calley played for Turner at HSU.
Outside, at last, the Hornets got back on track on Monday as the second week of spring work got under way.[more]
"A little different outlook after yesterday's practice," acknowledged Calley this morning. "We got a lot of inside drill on the pass skeleton, we went some full-scale scrimmage and tackled to the ground. We didn't tackle real well but a lot of that has to do with the fact that we hadn't tackled yet, out of practice.
"We just didn't get after it like we have been," he noted. "I don't know why. I thought they'd come back off the weekend fresh and ready to go. But something wasn't there yesterday. We'll try to get it back Wednesday."
Today, Calley and his staff planned to get the team back in the film room and the weight room before practice returning to scrimmaging on Wednesday. With graduation on Thursday night, there will be a lighter workout with more time in the film room and some special teams work, but more scrimmaging on Friday will wrap up the workouts in pads.
"We've moved some people around and it seemed to help," Calley said in regards to the concerns he'd expressed on offense after last Thursday's practice. "made some strides on the offensive line just by putting people in positions they're a little more suited to play."
The coach noted that veteran wide receivers Brandon Parish and Chris Arnold aren't getting as much work because of the need to develop some depth.
"Our receivers are getting better," he said. "We dropped some balls. We've got to be more consistent there with our young guys, got a lot more learning to do."
Calley mentioned that senior quarterback Jimi Easterling is still limited as he mends from the foot that he broke last in the season last fall. "He's still limited," the coach said. "He's not 100 percent yet. I thought (junior) Blake (Davidson) looked a lot more comfortable. He's throwing the ball better. He made some hot reads yesterday and did some things that he hasn't been consistent doing. And having only been down there for a week (after baseball), that's kind of surprised me."
Turning to the defense, he said, "We've got to find depth at linebacker. That's something that concerns me right now. In the secondary, I thought we played the ball well in the air but we didn't tackle real well and that's always a concern. You know, when your safeties aren't wrapping up and taking people to the ground, sometimes not physical enough, it kind of worries you because they're so involved in the running game.
"Our defensive line wasn't as dominant yesterday," Calley continued. "Like I said, we moved some people around on the offensive line to try to negate some of the size and speed that the first defensive line has and we slowed them down a little bit."