The Jacksonville State football team held its first two-a-day workout on Wednesday, getting physical in the morning before a lighter workout to close the day in Burgess-Snow Field.
The Gamecocks held a full contact workout on the practice fields to start the day before working in shells and more on the kicking game Wednesday night under the lights of JSU Stadium. Second-year head coach John Grass walked away from the first of four scheduled two-a-days in fall camp feeling his team was better than it was when the day started.
"We got better today, and we have to continue doing that," he said. "We went pretty hard this morning and had a lighter practice at night. We were anxious to see how we would handle that and I was very pleased. I thought we really got a lot out of them today. Right now, you are seeing the defense have a good day one day and the offense have a good day the next. It's been nip and tuck and kind of back-and-forth with a lot of competition between the two sides of the ball. That's what we want.
Grass mentioned how physical his guys have been so far in fall camp, something he puts a lot of emphasis on if the Gamecocks are to repeat as Ohio Valley Conference Champions and make a run the FCS Playoffs in 2015.
"We've been very physical," he said. "We've gotten some guys banged up, and that I.R. is getting a little longer than it has been, but that's going to happen. That's just football. We have to build up the callouses to the work and being physical and continue doing what we have to do to be the physical football team that we want to be."
Grass also pointed out the leadership he's seen on his team. A squad that features nine returning starters on offense and seven on defense, as well as 12 Preseason All-OVC picks, the Gamecocks are fighting through the ups and downs of preseason to stay on the field and get better every day.
"I see a lot of leadership," Grass added. "I see a lot of guys trying to push through and fight through things. Guys are fighting through injuries and trying to keep themselves on the field. Our training staff is doing a tremendous job of getting guys back to us, which is tough to do this time of the year. "
The Gamecocks are scheduled to open the season on Sept. 5 at Chattanooga in a battle of Top 10 teams. They will then take on Auburn on Sept. 12 before opening the home schedule against Tennessee State on Sept. 19.