Veterans look forward to live reps

Robert George

The annual Blue-White Spring football game this Saturday will be a chance for the fans to get their first look at the 2015-16 squad, as well as a chance for the coaches to get an idea of where the team is at heading into the summer. 

The spring game is a great opportunity for both the starters and the reserves to get a chance to showcase everything they’ve been working on in spring practice. For returning stars like running back Matt Breida, it’s a chance to get some live reps and work on some of the technical aspects of his game.

“I feel like this year, I know the schemes better,” Breida said. “Definitely been working on footwork and blocking. Just some of the technical things.”

He also sees the game as an opportunity for the younger backs to get some real collegiate experience.

“Ramsey and I are the only two coming back that played last year,” Breida said. “We definitely want to get them up to speed as quick as we can and get them going and allow them to see what it’s like to play college football.”

For other players, like reserve cornerback Gerriell Craig, it’s a chance to show that they’ve improved and are ready for some time on the field.

“I’ve been working on technique, learning the plays, and communication on the field,” Craig said. “I’m looking to make some strides, and, in the game, finally show what I’ve been working on all spring.”

For Coach Fritz, the spring game is about seeing how his team can execute the things they’ve been working on in spring ball. There are a lot of new faces on the team, so it’s a chance to see how far along the younger guys are. Coach Fritz knows that this game is important for those players.

“We kind of threw them into the fire,” Fritz said. “They’re coming along, and a bunch of them are gonna have to play for us.”

The Eagles lost starters on both sides of the ball this year, so Fritz will rely on his seniors and returning starters to help lead the team in the early going. Their leadership will be crucial as the season begins.

“Our seniors have taken a real leadership role,” Fritz said. “Jonathan Battle has done a good job with the defensive line. Antonio Glover and Matt Dobson are outstanding leaders for us. Darrien Foreman played with a bunch of seniors and now he’s a senior and he’s really taken that leadership role seriously. I put a lot of emphasis on senior leadership and those guys have done a good job.”

Fritz knows that expectations are high following the success the Eagles had in their first season in the Sun Belt. But he and the rest of the Eagles are ready for the challenge and eager to get back on the field.

“We’re certainly not resting on our laurels,” Fritz said. “We got a long ways to go if we’re going to accomplish what we want to.”