Ball State's football team conducted a scrimmage with officials Saturday as they head into the final days of Fall Camp with classes starting Monday.
The Cardinals will complete its Fall Camp with an 8 a.m. practice Sunday, and then host the annual Cardinal Varsity Club Kickoff Dinner Sunday at 5 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
Saturday's practice saw Ball State, under the direction of second-year head coach Pete Lembo, scrimmage in Scheumann Stadium.
Coach Lembo answered some questions for Ball State fans about Saturday's session.
Q: Today's practice consisted of a full scrimmage with officials and game like situations. Talk about what was accomplished.
A: We had two "move the ball" segments -- a "two minute drill" situation and a "red zone" situation for the first and second units. Our third units also got some quality work in towards the later part of the scrimmage. We placed some special teams work in between the team periods. We have been doing a lot of drill work on special teams in practice and it was important to get some full 11-on-11 work in the scrimmage. We did not have nearly as many issues with helmets coming off as we did in the first scrimmage. We still had too many penalties for my liking. Some missed tackles resulted in big plays for the offense, but the defense also got some stops. There were a few costly mental errors. Tony Martin came up with a big interception on one of the two minute drives. We were able to get a lot of repetitions today for the first unit. We are not where we need to be yet, but there were some positive signs.
Q: There are a few players who are working through some injuries and did not participate in the scrimmage. Talk a little bit about what they get done with Coach David Feeley.
A: When you are injured, you are missing the daily conditioning that is gained from practicing at a good tempo. We do not condition after practice because we try to get it done within the body of practice. If you are focused on rehabbing the specific injury with the sports medicine staff, you can easily regress in terms of being in "football shape". Dave has some creative ways of taking injured players and making sure they are continuing to work out in whatever capacity they can. Often, a player with a leg injury can get additional upper body work in the weight room. A guy with a shoulder injury can get extra work in on the leg press or with box squats. Today, Dave had safeties Christopher Calloway and Brian Jones doing a very visible cardio circuit during the scrimmage. It is also helpful to show younger players that it will not become a country club lifestyle around here when you are out with a minor injury. We want to encourage our student-athletes to get 100% healthy and back on the practice field as quickly as possible. Brian and Chris should both be back in the lineup by Tuesday. Dave and trainer Shawn Comer have an excellent working relationship. I trust they are on the same page in terms of the approach with an injured player. No one returns to action unless they have been cleared by Shawn.
Q: Talk a little bit today about progress at the running back position this Fall Camp.
A: We have excellent depth at running back. This is beneficial because the rigors of playing the position often means all of your running backs are rarely healthy at the same time. Barrington Scott is working his way back from a fibula injury he sustained last fall. He is not 100% yet, but he is taking a lot of repetitions in practice. Dwayne Donigan has always been a very steady guy and an asset on special teams. He is out for a bit with an ankle sprain. He should be ready by the opening game. Toney Williams is a big back that is improving every day. He is becoming more detailed and getting a better feel for the entire offense as well as his specific responsibilities. Jahwan Edwards had a great freshman year in 2011. He was one of the most mature, focused freshmen I have seen in 12 years as a head coach. He has reshaped his body in the offseason. He is a little quicker, but still powerful. Jahwan is our best pass protector, which is an important role in our scheme. Horactio Banks has really blossomed this preseason. You could see it coming in the spring. He showed up here last year lacking maturity and detail. His progress has been impressive to say the least. Horactio has made some plays throughout camp and I expect him to help us this season. Assistant coach Justin Lustig does an excellent job preparing these guys. He is demanding, but fair.