Clarksville, TN – To say that Austin Peay State University’s football program has nowhere to go but up is easy to say from the outside looking in, but getting that to happen is a whole another thing.
But as the Governors enter their final full week of their preseason practices before their season opener on August 31st, 2017 at Cincinnati they’ve shown in their inter-squad scrimmages that they are starting to put things together with a promise of a brighter future down the road.
Second-year head coach Will Healy has seen his squad go through 16 practices and three scrimmages after this past Saturday’s effort at Fortera Stadium and to those who seen the practices and more importantly the scrimmages some things have truly jumped up at fans.
First, the quarterback play has shown to be capable to move the ball up and down the field and put considerable pressure on an opponent defense.
Returning starter JaVaughn Craig has been solid with both his arm and legs, while highly touted freshman Jeremiah Oatsvall having lived up to expectations with a strong arm and the ability to make big plays down the field.
The Govs running games has also shown that it is capable of helping move the ball down the field, with the likes of Ahmaad Tanner and Prince Momodu, among others, finding the end zone multiple times during the scrimmages, as this years running back core looks to be talented and deep.
Now add a Govs offensive line that is bigger, stronger and more athletic to run behind, as well as protect the quarterback, the offense should continue to improve on last year’s effort that saw APSU almost double their point-per-game total from the previous season.
But the offense isn’t the only side of the ball that looks to have gained ground from last year.
Last year’s leading tackler Gunnar Scholato returns after a 124-tackle season, which included seven coming behind the line of scrimmage, while University of Oregon defensive lineman Austin Maloata has proven to be a disruptive force up front, as well as be able to tackle, force turnovers and be able to put pressure on quarterbacks.
In the secondary, their play has been more physical this fall and doing a better job of coverage on receivers on pass routes.
The Govs will return to the practice field on August 22nd and August 23rd for a couple of practice sessions before running a game day simulation on August 24th.
Austin Peay will begin their normal in-season practice schedule on August 26th as they put the finishing touches on their preparations for Cincinnati.