Learning front to back, back to front

Change of routine spices up practice, increases energy

<p class="p1">McNeese State head coach Lance Guidry decided to “flip the script” Tuesday for practice at the A.I. Ratcliff Practice Fields as the Cowboys ran through drills backward from their usual daily schedule.

<p class="p3">That meant full-team drills started things off, and for the second consecutive day, the defense seemed to get caught flat-footed as the offense found success in both the running and passing game during early drills.

<p class="p3">“You can tell the offense’s chemistry is getting better,” said junior safety Trent Jackson. “They’re working together and communicating well. They’ve been pointing out their assignments and talking to each other.

<p class="p3">“They’ve been hanging out a lot together, too. They’re chemistry has been great and they’ve been throwing and catching better and taking their job more seriously.”

<p class="p3">But as practice progressed, the defense began to find its rhythm for the first time in the second week of fall camp.

<p class="p3">During full-team overtime drills, the first-team defense had a near-perfect outing with back-to-back sacks by BJ Blunt and Jovon Burris and forcing an incomplete pass on third-and-long.

{{tncms-inline account="TylerAmPress" html="&amp;lt;blockquote class=&amp;quot;twitter-tweet&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;p lang=&amp;quot;en&amp;quot; dir=&amp;quot;ltr&amp;quot;&amp;gt;OT period couldn&amp;amp;#39;t have gone much better for the first-team defense. Sack, sack, incomplete pass. Here&amp;amp;#39;s the first sack by BJ Blunt, which did not take long &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;https://twitter.com/hashtag/McNeese?src=hash&amp;amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&amp;quot;&amp;gt;#McNeese&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;https://t.co/QGgjve2sfu&amp;quot;&amp;gt;pic.twitter.com/QGgjve2sfu&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;&amp;amp;mdash; Tyler Nunez (@TylerAmPress) &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;https://twitter.com/TylerAmPress/status/1029396755060846592?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&amp;quot;&amp;gt;August 14, 2018&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/blockquote&amp;gt;" id="1029396755060846592" type="twitter"}}

<p class="p3">“As practice continued, we started picking up the energy and feeding off of other guys,” Jackson said. “Guys were making a lot of noise and making plays.”

<p class="p3">Jackson played with the second team Tuesday as Burris enjoyed his second consecutive day in a Defense With Attitude jersey, which indicates which defenders are playing with the first team.

<p class="p3">Guidry said Burris has improved his stock immensely since the start of camp, and he made the most of it with a solid performance in Saturday’s scrimmage with three pass break-ups and a fumble recovery.

<p class="p3">“He’s going to stay there for awhile,” Guidry said of Burris’ time on the first team. “It’s going to be hard to move him out because the more he goes, the more he knows. He’s a really good player; he’s big hitter and he’s really instinctive. Trent Jackson has been our starter there, and Trent knows more than everybody in the secondary so we’re going to play more than one safety. But Jovon has definitely earned his spot right now.”

<p class="p3">Another group that has stepped its game up since the scrimmage is the offensive line, which struggled mightily with blocking during the scrimmage.

<p class="p3">Over the last two days of practice, running backs have had larger holes to run through and quarterbacks have had more time in the pocket before defenders have been able to get to them and force a stoppage of play.

<p class="p3">Offensive lineman Collin Fountain attributed the recent success to line coach Ben Norton, who he said worked with the unit intensely while watching film of the scrimmage during a 4-hour team meeting over the weekend.

<p class="p3">“Our goal since day one of the offseason is to make it to Frisco, (Texas), for the national championship,” Fountain said. “We’re going to be a big key factor. The team is going to go as far as we push the team. Coach Norton pushes us to perfection every day. He coaches the heck out of us. We’re going to be a really good group of guys this year.”””<p>McNeese ran through drills backward from their usual daily schedule Tuesday, August 14, 2018. This marked the beginning of practice, as opposed to nearly ending.</p>TylerNunez
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