Citing issues along the offensive line in terms of depth, Jim McCElwain said earlier this spring that the conclusion of spring drills would likely be more in the form of a scrimmage. On Thursday he reversed field a little bit and said that he wants to try and have competing teams, yet knows they will have to infuse a a few segments in order to take ca re of a depleted offensive line that is down to six scholarship players.
The excitement has been building for his guys and he says he is looking forward to seeing what his new team does in front of a crowd.
“How some guys get another opportunity to play in The Swamp and compete,” he said in terms of what he is looking for. “We are hanging on from the O-line standpoint, but we are going to try and go 12-minute quarters, have two teams and have as much a competitive game, adding much of the special teams, but not live and creating some situations. We are still (trying to) piecemeal those teams together right now. I think we will be able to have a competitive game as much as we can out there.
Offensive line, running back, and linebacker are three positions due to injury and just lack of numbers that are critically thin this spring, but McElwain says they have fought through the issues and he is happy with what his guys are doing.
“We have some depth issues in some areas, but those guys are starting to work good together. The linebackers… it will be good to get some of those guys back healthy and running backs in here as well it will help us with the depth standpoint as well.”
For Saturday McElwain has decided to let the entire staff coach both teams. Both teams will be on the same sideline and the coaches will coach their side of the ball that is on the field at that time. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will call plays for the offense.
“I kind of want the staff to work and get used to the communication,” McElwain said. “Nuss will call them,” he said before joking with the media. “The ones that I call are the ones that don’t work and the one’s he calls are the ones that work.
Practice Thursday was a little off kilter as well, but not totally unexpected.
“The anticipation of the weekend,” he commented. “We had a really hard practice on Tuesday some of the competitive drills we got after it prey good. We kind of lucked out weather wise, but today (it was hot) we got a lot of reps today too, but that is how we practice.”
Couple of players missing Thursday…
Junior receiver Chris had a complaint filed against him for misdemeanor charges and will all team activities until it is taken care of. Sophomore defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick also has missed some time for undisclosed reasons
“He is handling some personal things right now,” McElwain said of Bostwick. “Once he gets those handled we will kind of measure it from there. He’s dealing with some personal issues right now. I respect that and we are dealing with it. “