Spring Practice Gets Under Way

The football team gathered at the practice field Monday for the first session of spring practices. After their offseason workout session the team came out healthy, in great shape, and anxious to get under way again. The players said they're feeling very good entering preparation for the 2008 season.

"We feel great," said Jan Jorgensen speaking about the team's mindset on the first day of spring practices. "We've been working very hard in the offseason. The new guys, the old guys like me, we're ready. We're ready to go. We have a lot of guys with a lot of heart."

"We're so much more experienced this spring," said Max Hall. "You look around on offense and everyone is back, but we can't be complacent with that. We need to work at least as hard as we did when we were trying to earn spots, so we can be that much better than we were. That's what spring practice is for. It's a great opportunity we have to work even better as a unit."

Monday's practice session saw a good mix of experienced returning players and other players working to earn a spot in the two-deep roster. Among those players were a lot of players joining the team for the first time, as well as some that recently returned from missions. One such player that recently from a mission is receiver Luke Ashworth.

"It was great being out there," said Ashworth. "It's been a very long time for me and fortunately I had some time to work out with the team before this practice, which helped. I'm just excited to be playing football again for the great program that we have here."

Jorgensen said he has taken note of the new guys and those he's familiar with, and likes their prospects in helping to improve the football program.

"We had a lot of inexperienced guys out there Monday on the field and you could already see them giving 110 percent on every play," said Jorgensen. "With the new guys giving it their all, I'm not worried at all about the positions that need to be filled where we lost some guys."

The positions Jorgensen speaks of includes most linebacker and secondary positions where some very good, but inexperienced talent will be competing for spots this spring.

"You look at guys like Vic [So'oto], Kellen Fowler, Brandon Howard and all the defensive backs, [and] we have a lot of talent there, and man, they're all competing very hard and looking really good," noted Jorgensen. "In everything we did in the offseason with the lifting, conditioning drills and everything else, you could tell that the new guys came in more than willing to give it their all for the program."

Jorgensen knows that it may take some time, but he's very confident with what his teammates have shown him so far.

"This spring we may come out a bit rusty," said Jorgensen. "But I know these guys and I know their desires and how much they want to contribute, and I know that we'll come out of spring very strong as a defensive unit."

Jorgensen has noted a different attitude this spring, an attitude that he said he feels will add to how well the team does this coming year.

"We know we're good," said Jorgensen. "Last year at this time we were coming off a great year, but there was some uncertainty with some if we could do it again. This year we know we can do it again. The confidence level is very high this year."

Practice Notes

-Vic So'oto looked great coming out in his first day practicing at outside linebacker. So'oto saw most of his reps with the first-team defense and looked agile, athletic and very confident playing at his new position. During coverage drills against tight ends, So'oto knocked down two passes.

-Those running primarily with the first-team defense included Jan Jorgensen, Rick Wolfley, Ian Dulan, Vic So'oto, David Nixon, Matt Bauman, Shawn Doman, Scott Johnson, Brandon Howard, Kellen Fowler and David Tafuna.

-Running primarily with the second-team defense were players such as Brett Denney, Tevita Hola, David Angilau, Matt Putnam, Terrance Hooks, Matt Ah You, Grant Nelson, Brandon Bradley, G Pittman, Jordan Pendleton and Andrew Rich.

-Austin Collie took reps returning punts and looked to have a different gear coming off of his high ankle sprain which bothered him during the last half of the 2007 season.

-Masi Tuitama saw reps at outside linebacker, while Coleby Clawson saw reps on the inside. Clawson intercepted a pass during drills.

-R.J. Willing saw most of his reps at center backing up Tom Sorensen, while Matt Reynolds saw most of his reps playing right guard with the first-team unit.

-Wide receiver recruit Brett Thompson was in attendance, along with former players Bryan Kehl and Kelly Poppinga.

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