Jacksonville, Ala. – The Gamecocks worked in shoulder pads and helmets on Wednesday and head coach Jack Crowe says the team is now moving into a “form and fit” routine.
“We moved from being all mental to being in shoulder pads in helmets,” Crowe said following the two-plus hour afternoon workout. “We are not encouraging contact like finishing blocks and runs and tackle, but we are trying to form and fit into responsibilities.”
Jax State will practice in shoulder pads and helmets again on Thursday, before working in full pads for the first time on Friday. But Crowe says it is still a learning process for the younger players, while the returning players have an advantage.
“The older players know how to practice and know how to handle the situation and take advantage of the opportunity without it turning into a full blown scrimmage,” Crowe added.
Crowe knows a key to the success of the Gamecocks in the early part of the schedule will be the play of the offense.
“We played three freshmen on the offensive line last year and that was a growing experience,” said Crowe. “But, what you had as a benefit of that is the experience gained up front. Max Holcombe at center, who played as a freshman last year and is very mature, Tarik (Milner) at right tackle and Blake Burks at left guard are all incredible mental guys. The two seniors in Odie (Rush) and Tori (Mobley) both have a lot of ball games in them.
“Those five guys are going to be the key in the early ballgames,” Crowe said. “Our offense is going to have the burden, they are going to have to keep the ball to try and help our defense.”
Both Rush and Mobley are both preseason All-OVC selections, with Rush earning the honor in 2011 and Mobley in 2012, while Holcombe was a member of the All-OVC Newcomer squad last year.
The Gamecocks open the 2012 season on Sept. 1 at Arkansas as Crowe makes his first return trip to Fayetteville since coaching the Razorbacks just over 20 years ago.
Courtesy JSU Media Relations