APSU Sports: Austin Peay Football
Clarksville, TN – After two days in full pads, Austin Peay State University football team will conduct its first scrimmage, 9:30am, Monday, in Governors Stadium.
The Governors are expected to run some 80 plays Monday morning as head coach Rick Christophel and staff attempts to evaluate a veteran but still young Governors football team. The Governors are coming off a pair of spirited days of full pad work, Friday and Saturday—the Govs conducted a non-padded kicking practice on Sunday.“The first thing we have to do on offense is make sure our offensive line has chemistry,” Christophel said. “We have to do that in two ways—we have to be able to run the football and be able to throw it.”
Of course, the offensive line is minus three 2011 starters (center Tim Schmid, tackles James Barker and J.P. Washington), but does return guard Chris Hartman and Jacob Langston, who has moved from guard to center. It also has its third coach in three years in Jason Palermo.
“Secondly, we have to be able to get the ball into our playmakers hands—you want to see how they react,” Christophel said. “You hope you find a couple more to go with (wide receiver) Devin (Stark), the running backs and (quarterback) Jake Ryan.”
The offense is seeking a replacement for 1,000-yard rusher Ryan White, who left Austin Peay as its second-leading career rusher. Senior Wesley Kitts, who ran for more than 450 yards a year ago, will inherit the starting duties. But he has plenty of support in a pair of sophomores Ean Pemberton and Dontavious Brown, who missed 2011 after knee surgery, along with freshman Reco Williams.
“Defensively, we just have to keep coming on up front,” Christophel said. “We are banged up in our secondary a little bit right now—I have been in this 37 years and usually when it happens it happens at one spot. For us right now it is safety.
“Hopefully, we will get them back early this week. But it will give us a chance to move some guys around. We are like the NFL, your roster size (on the road) is limited so we will get a chance to look at some people at other positions.”
“This (scrimmage) is going to tell us how much more work we have to do,” Christophel said. “We have some tough road games to open the season so our focus right now is to keep improving each day so we will be ready at the start of the season.”
The Govs also be able to gauge, at least early on, how much freshmen could contribute. Christophel knows with a deep football team any freshman will need the ability to make a significant impact to move up the depth chart.
“I do think we have a couple of freshmen who have a chance to help us,” Christophel said. “But we don’t have to have them play. The good thing we are in a position where we could end up redshirting 8-to-10 of those freshmen.”
The Governors will conduct a second scrimmage, 9:30am, Saturday.