Practice News: A Ball Changes Positions, Injuries

Sophomore Mat Ball switches from defensive end to stronside linebacker, and cornerback Joe Hunter sits out the afternoon practice with his shoulder in a sling...

Mat Ball, the redshirt sophomore, has been moved from defensive end to strongside linebacker. Linebacker coach Marc Dove was using the available moments between reps to personally coach Ball about the techniques, getting a crash course in strongside linebacker.

Cornerback Joe Hunter strained his shoulder in the morning practice session and sat our the afternoon session, wearing a sling. It's not considered a very serious shoulder injury.

Walk on defensive back Russell Thomas dislocated his shoulder and was also in a sling. His injury is considered more serious.

Matt Ware participated in a few light drills today. While Head Coach Bob Toledo said he's still "day-to-day" from the concussion he suffered last week, Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow said they expect to see Ware practicing tomorrow.

Marques Anderson reported is still experiencing headaches from his concussion, and will more than likely continue to be sidelined. He will also be evaluated on a daily basis.

Brandon Chillar is still limited by a hamstring pull he suffered last week.


Coach Toledo comments...

On the move of Mat Ball to strongside linebacker…

"Marcus Reese, we'll try to keep him inside a little bit more. He has a little bit of an injury and Brandon Chillar has that hamstring. So, we'll bring a bigger guy over the tight end, and Mat Ball has played some linebacker. And we have depth at the defensive line, so we're looking at him at that position and I think he can do it. He played a stand-up end in high school. And then he played the middle linebacker for us as a freshman until we put him down. Reese just didn't look comfortable out there. You know, those tight ends are so big and they kind of smother him a bit. He's more active inside, and he has a little injury right now that has stopped his progress a little bit."

On the readiness of Tim Warfield and Spencer Havner…

"They're not ready. Warfield is probably more ready than Havner, but we just have to keep them all alive because of the injuries. You want to prepare them so that during the course of the year if you need them to play, they can play. Warfield's improving quite a bit. Reese just didn't look comfortable out there. You know, those tight ends are so big and they kind of smother him a bit. He's more active inside, and he has a little injury right now that has stopped his progress a little bit."

On who would be the starters at linebacker…

"Right now, it would Nece, Thomas and it would be Ball if they played today."

On why it pays off to make the players know different positions…

"We're telling the kids we're trying to find depth. We want to move people around to get the best players playing and then have as much quality depth as we can, so if we do have injuries we have guys that can go in there and at least they have some exposure to the position."


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