Gamecocks Work in Pads for First Time on Wednesday - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gamecocks Work in Pads for First Time on Wednesday

JACKSONVILLE – Head football coach Jack Crowe ran the Gamecocks through their first practice in pads on Wednesday and several newcomers caught the eye of the 12th year head coach.

"The majority of this football team I've seen in pads before, but there were about 30 of them I haven't and the first look goes to those guys," Crowe said following the 6:15 a.m. practice. "Just as I suspected about a couple of them, although they haven't been in full pads you kind of saw it coming."

Crowe said that he was impressed with the play of freshman signees DeMarcus James and Rashod Byers following their first day in pads.

"Demarcus James, from Demopolis, we got a football player there if he can maintain that level through the full contact on multiple days," said Crowe. "He is a contributor at running back.

"Rashod Byers is a running back from Jacksonville, Florida, who is extremely fast. On a field where the defense if pretty fast, he was able to pull away some," Crowe added. "A couple of good first impressions there."

After the Gamecock coaches get to view the video from this morning's practice, Crowe expects that more newcomers will stand out.

"I think when we look at this film, we'll see more and more," said Crowe. "You are always looking for a level of talent that can walk in and make the contribution and it looks like those two guys have brought something to the table."

Jacksonville State will hold its first scrimmage on Thursday morning, in what Crowe is calling a "first look" scrimmage. The scrimmage will be closed, but it will give a chance for the coaches to evaluate some newcomers and will also help one veteran player get caught up.

"We call it a first look scrimmage and it's about a half scrimmage," said Crowe. "It's really designed for us to see people in a scrimmage situation for the first time, or maybe someone like Coty (Blanchard) who missed spring training. We won't play Marques (Ivory). We have to get Coty caught back up to where he was before he went to baseball. We have a couple of running backs and an assortment of young offensive lineman."

Blanchard did not participate in spring football as the former Alabama Mr. Football spent the spring season playing baseball for the Gamecocks. The Leesburg, Ala., native was named a 2011 Louisville Slugger Baseball Freshman All-American and also to the All-OVC newcomer squad after helping JSU advance to the OVC Baseball Championship finals.

"On the other side of the ball, we have a couple of corners in Denzel Bynum and Brandon Bender, we need to see what they can do besides cover once the bullets start flying," Crowe added. "These are all drills today that show talent, but they don't really show what your game instincts are."

Bender prepped at McAdory High School, while Bynum starred at North Jackson High School.

After the Gamecocks scrimmage on Thursday, Jax State will hold its first two-a-day workout on Friday and will scrimmage again on Saturday.JACKSONVILLE – Head football coach Jack Crowe ran the Gamecocks through their first practice in pads on Wednesday and several newcomers caught the eye of the 12th year head coach.

"The majority of this football team I've seen in pads before, but there were about 30 of them I haven't and the first look goes to those guys," Crowe said following the 6:15 a.m. practice. "Just as I suspected about a couple of them, although they haven't been in full pads you kind of saw it coming."

Crowe said that he was impressed with the play of freshman signees DeMarcus James and Rashod Byers following their first day in pads.

"Demarcus James, from Demopolis, we got a football player there if he can maintain that level through the full contact on multiple days," said Crowe. "He is a contributor at running back.

"Rashod Byers is a running back from Jacksonville, Florida, who is extremely fast. On a field where the defense if pretty fast, he was able to pull away some," Crowe added. "A couple of good first impressions there."

After the Gamecock coaches get to view the video from this morning's practice, Crowe expects that more newcomers will stand out.

"I think when we look at this film, we'll see more and more," said Crowe. "You are always looking for a level of talent that can walk in and make the contribution and it looks like those two guys have brought something to the table."

Jacksonville State will hold its first scrimmage on Thursday morning, in what Crowe is calling a "first look" scrimmage. The scrimmage will be closed, but it will give a chance for the coaches to evaluate some newcomers and will also help one veteran player get caught up.

"We call it a first look scrimmage and it's about a half scrimmage," said Crowe. "It's really designed for us to see people in a scrimmage situation for the first time, or maybe someone like Coty (Blanchard) who missed spring training. We won't play Marques (Ivory). We have to get Coty caught back up to where he was before he went to baseball. We have a couple of running backs and an assortment of young offensive lineman."

Blanchard did not participate in spring football as the former Alabama Mr. Football spent the spring season playing baseball for the Gamecocks. The Leesburg, Ala., native was named a 2011 Louisville Slugger Baseball Freshman All-American and also to the All-OVC newcomer squad after helping JSU advance to the OVC Baseball Championship finals.

"On the other side of the ball, we have a couple of corners in Denzel Bynum and Brandon Bender, we need to see what they can do besides cover once the bullets start flying," Crowe added. "These are all drills today that show talent, but they don't really show what your game instincts are."

Bender prepped at McAdory High School, while Bynum starred at North Jackson High School.

After the Gamecocks scrimmage on Thursday, Jax State will hold its first two-a-day workout on Friday and will scrimmage again on Saturday.

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