"There is a lot of carry over from last years team and we are running the same system, so there should be good play," Cassity told InsideTheVille.com following Wednesday's shortened practice. "We've been doing this scheme for three years now, so there should be good carry over from last year."
Much of the first five days in practice has been spent on fine-tuning the fundamentals and improving as an overall defensive squad and while there have a few simulated scrimmages, Cassity is looking forward to Thursday evening's scrimmage to see how his players react to game situations.
"We've spent a lot of time working on fundamentals to this point, so (Thursday‘s scrimmage) will be a big test," said Cassity. "I want to see guys give effort and I want to see guys run to the football. I want to see them tackles and get off of their blocks."
"Until we get out there on the game field and play I won't have a good feel for how they'll react," he continued. "Defense always looks great in shorts, so there should be a difference when we scrimmage."
A few players that will certainly get a few glances from Cassity and the defensive coaches are those that are making a move to a new position this spring. Among them are sophomore Stephen Garr, who is making the move from safety to outside linebacker, and in the process of changing from receiver to cornerback is redshirt freshman Johnny Patrick .
"I saw Stephen make a few good plays for us out there today," said Cassity. "He's always been a real good hitter for us and he's up to about 215 pounds. Johnny Patrick is another guy - we're looking at him as a cornerback right now. I'm excited about those guys and the moves we've made."
While impressed by the practice effort from all of the defensive unit, Cassity was quick to point out the strong play of the defensive front.
"I think our defensive front is doing well," said Cassity. "We graduated some players, but we have a lot of players with playing experience. I'll know more after the scrimmage, but I really like the effort."
The completion of the team's first full scrimmage will also bring the staff's first depth chart of the spring season.
"We won't really try to formulate a depth chart until after the scrimmage," said Cassity. "The number one thing that I'm going to evaluate above anything is effort, then the fundamentals and obviously how well they know the scheme."
The Cardinals will conduct their first true scrimmage of the spring season Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Admission is free. Those attending are asked to please not take pictures or video of the scrimmage.