Birmingham, AL (WIAT)-Samford returned to the practice field Wednesday for two-a-days. The morning workout was conducted in full pads meanwhile the afternoon practice was in shells and shorts. Assistant head coach Bill D’Ottavio says the focus right now is to install some things and refine the Samford Bulldogs.
Below is the full press release courtesy of Samford media relations.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Samford football team practiced twice Wednesday at Seibert Stadium. The team worked out for about two hours in full pads in the morning, and for about an hour and a half in shells in the afternoon.
The practices marked the second two-a-day workout for the Bulldogs. Linebackers coach Ross Newton says he likes the progress his group has made.
“Everything went well today,” Newton said. “Our linebackers are growing every day and our defense is getting better every day. We are still installing things and trying to narrow it down. We are working on a lot of different stuff right now.”
At linebacker, the Bulldogs must replace all three starters from last season. However, senior Justin Shade split time at middle linebacker last season with starter Keith Shoulders. Newton said Shade’s leadership has been a big help to the linebackers so far during camp.
“What’s really nice about Justin is that he really hasn’t been a starter, but he has been a starter in our eyes,” Newton said. “He was second on the team in tackles last year. He’s played a ton of football and understands the game. Justin is providing outstanding leadership, not only with his play, but with his practice habits, showing those younger guys how to play.”
Newton said there has been strong competition for the other linebacker spots.
“The competition has been great,” Newton said. “That’s what you are looking for. Competition makes everybody better. We’ve made moves every two or three days at linebacker, so we’re not leaving people in one spot. We are moving them around, working people at different spots, trying to get the best combination. We’d like to play six to eight linebackers. We want to get people who are interchangeable and can play different positions.”
The Bulldogs will hold their final full scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning. Newton talked about some of the things he would like to see in that scrimmage.
“That’s where we will make those decisions on who that final six or eight are,” Newton said. “You’re just looking for overall improvement. You’re looking for guys who, if they made a mistake during the week, they don’t make that same mistake on Saturday.”
Samford will practice in full pads again Thursday morning. The team will work out at 9 a.m. in Seibert Stadium.
Samford opens the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30, when the Bulldogs travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia State in the Georgia Dome. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (CT) start.