NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College football team began its second week of preseason practice Monday. Today's practice report looks at the trenches, as we spoke with defensive line coach Jason Blalock and offensive line coach Kevin Turco following Monday afternoon's practice session.
Defensive line coach Jason Blalock:
On experienced players returning from the 2007 squad: "We lost five seniors, but on average, we played 9-10 guys a game. In essence, we're not returning many starters, but we're returning five guys who got a lot of playing time last year. David Harris (Ninety Six, S.C.) has really stepped up to lead these guys. We missed him in the spring because he couldn't practice, but he's played very well in the fall and stepped back in with the ones today. A couple of younger guys like Ryan McClain (Irmo, S.C.) and Andre Clark (Rock Hill, S.C.) can't be playing any better in my opinion."
On the newcomers to the line: "Marcus Nelums (Columbia, S.C.) transferred in from Western Carolina and he's flying around and making plays. Lance Clark (Florence, S.C.) was on the offensive line last year, he's come to the defensive line and is making a lot of plays. Joshua Stinson (Chester, S.C.), Bruce Bagley (Winnsboro, S.C.) and Arterio Arnold (Greenville, S.C.) have all played pretty well in camp. We're pretty solid at both defensive tackle and defensive end."
On the line's overall confidence level: "After today's practice, I thought we flew around really well. We were good on the pass rush and played the run well. We didn't have many missed assignments today, we were in our gaps and we played our guys well. Today felt like an improved practice from Saturday."
Offensive line coach Kevin Turco:
On the "Roach Patrol's" attitude and work ethic: "I think their attitude is outstanding. They have a burning desire to be the best they can be and master the fundamentals, and they strive everyday to be tougher than the day before. I'm very, very proud of their attitude and the progress we've made every day. But we've still got a way to go to be able to compete on August 30."
On the younger players who are excelling in camp: "Two guys that have really stepped up and made an immediate impact on our team are Ben Hyder (Pickens, S.C.) and Chase Gamble (Dallas, N.C.). We're just trying to get them acclimated to the speed of the game at this level and they're getting along nicely."
On performance against the defensive line in contact drills: "I think we're right where we should be right now. Offense, in general, always takes a little bit longer to develop because of the timing. When it all comes together, I'm ready to see what we can do because we've got guys who are committed, have the right attitude and are talented. I'm happy with where we're at, but we've got a long way to go."