Q: We are over halfway through Spring Practice; give us your thoughts on how well the practices have gone to this point?
Coach Lembo (@Pete_Lembo): We are pretty pleased with the energy and enthusiasm we have seen so far. We have a good group of guys and the vast majority are very passionate about football. We have some good young players learning every day and several are improving. We like the leadership we are seeing from some of the older players. Some established starters are really coming out focused and determined to get a little bit better every day. We have some outstanding leadership on the offensive side of the ball. Our veteran skill players are allowing us to push the boundaries of the offensive package. They are raising the bar for the younger players on the field and in meetings. The first offensive line is solid, but we need to improve our depth the next two weeks. Defense and special teams are a work in progress at this point. The effort has been solid and the guys are willing. We need to play with more detail and consistency in those two phases of the game. There is some good competition for playing time still up for grabs as well. There are some players with leadership potential on defense. We have a handful of players banged up right now, so we have to be careful about how much time and repetition gets allocated to certain areas.
Q: Ball State returns running backs Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks. Talk about the depth at that position and what fans should expect.
Coach Lembo (@Pete_Lembo): We are very pleased with Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks. Both young men have really developed nicely on and off the field since they arrived in the summer of 2011. They have really taken advantage of the vast opportunities here at Ball State. They are both very loyal, team oriented guys. They support each other and root for each other. It is not often you see running backs that are so low maintenance in that way. Justin Lustig has done a great job mentoring the running backs. Jahwan and Horactio have really responded well to Justin’s approach. Both backs give us great effort in special teams drills, even though we limit their roles in that phase of the game. Teddy Williamson has been a nice addition to the group. He is smart, disciplined, conscientious and has an excellent work ethic. He is taking advantage of being here a semester early. Teddy has shown some flashes in practice and the players respect him. He is also making some mistakes, but that is to be expected for a new player learning a new language. Teddy has a bright future ahead of him.
Q: What does the schedule for the rest of this week look like?
Coach Lembo (@Pete_Lembo): We will go out in uppers again on Wednesday for practice #10. It is important we keep learning to go full speed, but stay up off the ground in team situations where it is “thud” tempo. It is important for the program we carry that over to our preseason practices in August. We will have two situational team periods on Wednesday and an inside run period. Thursday is an off field day for us, lifting weights and watching video. Friday will be another typical practice in uppers and we will scrimmage with officials on Saturday morning. We expect a sizeable group of recruits here for Friday and Saturday’s practices.