Red & Black Spring Game Report
Tigerville, SC – Another Annual Red & Black Spring Game has come and gone for the North Greenville University football program with both the offense and defense making great strides to improve in a number of areas.
“I believe we have made some strides with our fundamentals and position techniques on both sides of the ball this spring,” said head coach Jeff Farrington. “We need to continue to work very hard to improve in these areas as we move into the summer months. We had a good winter with workouts and kept the momentum into spring practice. I have been pleased with our progress and we just need to continue to gel in some position areas that we have new faces.”
In front of the North Greenville faithful at Younts Stadium, the offense showed its more conservative side as junior quarterback Nelson Hughes completed 21 passes, including three touchdowns for the offense.
Senior Thomas Weeks caught two touchdowns, while sophomore Robbie Brown showed off his athletic ability with a touchdown catch in traffic. On the ground, junior Trey Walker and sophomores Simeon Byrd and Ashton Heard all splits reps in the backfield.
The Crusader offensive line was short on number due to injuries but the unit was led by seniors Charles Coleman and Armani Delaney, junior Matthew Rochester and sophomores Parks Wallington and Armon Lindsay on the front line.
“It has been good to see Nelson Hughes continue to work and Ashton Heard has shown that he wants contribute this fall,” said Farrington. “We also made some position moves on the defensive side that seem to be having a positive impact after 14 practices. We have several players offensively and defensively that will be moving into their second season after playing as a freshman or redshirt freshman in 2013 that must continue to work very hard to improve.”
The defense showed much improvement from a year ago, improving in all areas while meshing old faces with new faces making position changes among all three levels.
On the defensive line, sophomore Shaquan Burney (who moved from inside linebacker) utilized his speed and agility to push pressure on the offensive backfield all game long, recording five total tackles, four quarterback hurries and a sack. Redshirt freshman Anthony Blair totaled three tackles, two quarterback hurries and a sack, as the defensive line totaled 10 quarterback hurries and four sacks in the game.
The linebacking corps also had a few familiar faces in new positions as sophomore Quan Weeks moved from outside to inside linebacker, totaling six tackles, while junior Darius Custard recorded six tackles after moving from running back to outside linebacker. Senior linebacker Nick Rodgers made four total tackles in the game, followed by sophomore Sam Houston’s three stops inside.
“As a team we want our players excited for the summer months knowing August is just around the corner,” Farrington said in regards to the upcoming season. “We need to invest daily and hold each other accountable throughout this summer. The 2014 season will be a challenging schedule, however, we will be prepared to see how we match up each week against top D-2 programs in Region 2. Consistency is something we want to be able to improve on as a football team to see if we can complete some games we were competing in last season.”
The Crusader secondary showed vast improvement from a year ago as the unit combined for five pass breakups, including two from senior Cejay Thomas and one each from junior Adam House, sophomore Nigel Gay and redshirt freshman Roderick McCray. Thomas led all defensive backs with two tackles in the contest.