Eagle football nears end of spring practices

The Eagles gear up for an eventful fall season, looking to repeat as conference champions


Mike Hopkins

The Eagles practice in preparation for the fall season.

Ethan Jenkins, Reporter

As winter permanently starts to turn to spring, that means it’s time for the pads and cleats to be put back on and begin to prepare for another Ashland University football season.

Roster positioning is starting to shake out in the early spring, with some of the younger Eagles proving themselves and at the most important time of the year when it comes to determining the roster for the fall.

“You win the [starting] jobs in the spring, you don’t necessarily win it in August. By the time we get to August we are already preparing for IUP…we always talk to our young guys, if you are going to contribute in your first year, you have to pop early in training camp,” said Head Coach Doug Geiser.

One group of players that has popped this spring has been the defensive line, which looks relatively similar to last season.

“Our interior guys Collin Strong and Kristian Gehrisch have had a really stellar spring for us. We haven’t been in this position upfront in a while,” said Geiser.

The defensive line may not have a lot of holes to fill but the expectations remain high for the entire defense that ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense and scoring defense last season.

Last fall we played well and won some awards, and it can be easy to get complacent but our coaching staff and our leaders remind us every day that we have a lot of shoes to fill with players who have graduated,” said Strong.

Unlike the defensive line, the wide receiver room graduated three receivers, including sixth-year Logan Bolin, leaving a lot of younger players to prove themselves.

“There are big shoes to fill for our group, because of the losses of Logan Bolin, Malik Wooldridge and Turbo [Garrett Turnbaugh]. Everyone has pushed each other to their fullest potential, which is why I’m excited to see what we can do,” said sophomore wideout Tony Pannunzio.

The obvious other glaring hole on offense is who is the next quarterback to engineer the offense, after the departure of Austin Brenner. Sophomores Trevor Bycznski, Trent Maddox and Cameron Blair have all had their names in the hat to be named the next starter.

“Austin was a leader of our team for four or five years, and that leaves a void. We may or may not name a starter after the spring we’ll see. If no one goes and claims the job, we’ll go into the fall with the question still out there to keep the pressure on,” said Geiser.

Spring practice is an opportunity to sharpen each other’s skills before the summer hits, but the first “game like” action the players will see against one another will be in the Purple and Gold Game on April 22 at 1 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium to cap off the spring workouts.