The Demons’ second practice Aug. 16 featured nine touchdowns in 120 plays and plenty of big plays for the defense as they continue to make way to the regular season opener Aug. 28 against Missouri State.
“I though that today was great with a good crowd,” Demons head coach Jay Thomas said. “Everybody’s excited about the season, just like us. I thought the scrimmage went really well across the board. Thought it was well balanced, but we have to continue working on tackling. The offense did a great job running the football, we had some good passes in there.”
NSU went more in-depth in the practice that included going over late game situations that saw the team score a touchdown in both situations---including a 20-yard touchdown by junior wide receiver Ed Eagan in the corner of the end zone to end the practice.
“We ran the stutter [route] and I knew it was going to be coming to me, so I tried to go at it full speed and make the play,” Eagan said.
The Demons’ passing game opened up in the scrimmage, throwing for 363 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 32 of 52 passes at a 61.5 percent clip.
Senior quarterback Zach Adkins had a decent day completing 16 of 25 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Yet, with the aerial attack, NSU threw three interceptions during the day as well---two of those going to sophomore safety Adam Jones.
“We practice forcing turnovers,” Jones said. “We knew they were eventually they were going to pile up for us as along as we keep running to the ball.”
While the “Purple Swarm” defense could not hit the quarterbacks, they still made their presence known with constant pressure including a Jones diving interception during one of the two-minute drills.
“We had a slow start and we just came together,” junior defensive lineman Leroy Armstrong said. “We have to fight hard, play our blocks and be smart with our reads. It all came together at the end.”
While the Demons passing offense and defense excelled, the running game was also effective.
Despite averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, the NSU running backs scored four times as Ronald Green led the way with 56 yards and two trips to the end zone on nine carries.
“We went into the scrimmage situation and it was hit or miss,” Demons offensive coordinator Ben Norton said. “We didn’t quite run the ball and get the yardage we wanted on first and second down, so we had some third-and-long situations.”
Yet, they also showed their toughness with senior Garrett Atzenweiler delivering some punishing runs at the expense of the Demon defense.
“We’re learning our lesson on hitting ‘Big Atzy’ out there,” NSU defensive coordinator Mike Lucas chuckled.
While school does not begin at NSU until Aug. 25, the Demon football players have gotten in the flow this week with a “mock school” week. The highlight of the week will be a “mock game” tonight at 6 p.m. at Turpin Stadium.