Eagles prepare for annual spring game


Zach Read

AU football in a fall scrimmage prior to the 2018 season.

Mason Jones

The school year may be winding down, but preparations for the 2019 football season is just getting started. While the season doesn’t start until August, there is still a lot of work to be done, including the annual spring game that will take place on Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m.

The spring game is a scrimmage game where the athletes go full throttle, meaning that instead of light contact, there is full contact where tackling is not limited.

The players have been training and working out since their season ended, all in preparation for next season. As the saying goes, “there is no offseason”.

“There really is no offseason for us as we went through a winter cycle for about six weeks, so we are trying to get real strong in the winter and apply it to the spring ball,” Ashland University middle linebacker Clay Shreve said. “In the summer we’ll try to get into shape and get ready for the football aspect of it.”

With the spring game just around the corner, the team has trained diligently for months on both sides as the offense and defense are constantly working to improve their talents.

“We run a pro-style offense, so some plays will be lined up with three tight ends and two running backs in the game who are just trying to run it down the field, and other times we’ll have three receivers and one running back out on the field and try to spread it out a little bit,” redshirt-freshman quarterback Austin Brenner said.

The spring game is meant for players to test out their skills and have fun with it, as this is all a part of training and improving the team’s overall skill set.

The AU football team has changed a bit regarding the number of players since some of the players have graduated, transferred, quit, etc. Overall, there are still 7 of the 11 starters returning to the field next season on the defensive side of the ball.  

“We are lower than what we usually have this year due to the graduating seniors, and there are yearly attractions where kids quit and it happens every year so it’s not that surprising that is happened again this year,” Shreve said. “We still got a good core coming back on defense, with some players stepping up and filling in the spots that were held by the previous players who left.”

The team has lost some players, but there is confidence with the team that some players will step up and fill in the spaces. One key piece that will need to be filled is the running back position for the Eagles.

“We graduated two key running backs who were both a huge contribution to the team, so there are some things up in the air about that, but I am confident that someone will step up and fill in that spot,” Brenner said.

“You always have things to work on since no one is perfect, but it’s important to keep working on the little things like the chemistry of the team so we can keep everything in order on the field.”

Shreve and Brenner said that although the Eagles lost a number of guys after last season, they are still confident that there will be players who will step up and take command on the field.

“The guys did a tremendous job throughout the six week winter cycle,” AU wide receivers coach Dominic Orsini said. “You could tell that these guys made significant progress from where they were in the regular season to where they are now.”

Orsini also said that he is confident in his team and is excited for next season as he believes their efforts to become better have not gone to waste as they continue to improve on their skills.

Orsini said that the team is switching up their game plan this year and is eliminating two-a-days when the players return back to school in early August.

“What we will do is have extended practices, which is a little longer practice than normal that includes more meeting time with the team and watch videos which to me is just as good since it will save some legs and a little bit more injury prevention,” Orsini said.

Regardless of this new concept, Orsini is still confident with his team’s skills and he believes they can achieve something great.

“I think we got great leaders on this team like Clay Shreve and Austin Brenner that are going to be big vocal leaders on this team on both sides of the ball that are going to lead this team to what we need to do. But it’s not just those two as the whole senior class and all the upperclassmen contribute to the leadership roles of the team,” Orsini said.

The Eagles offense and defense will get a chance to showcase their skills in the annual spring game. The spring game is the last part of spring training before the players go on break for a few weeks and then return for summer workouts and practice.

The spring game will take place on Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium and is free and open to the public.