NACOGDOCHES, Texas (Press Release)– Perhaps no area on the field has more pressure on it heading into 2016 than the Stephen F. Austin cornerback position. Comprised of a handful of young players and transfers, while battling injuries, the Lumberjack corners struggled to find its cohesion early in the season, leading to a number of strong receiving outings by opponents.
But by the second half of the year, the group began to gel and establish itself as a key component of the 2015 team. The improved play over the second half of the year helped SFA win four of its final six games, holding its final six opponents to an average of 230 passing yards per game.
Heading into 2016, the position again consists of a number of young players, but also has some experience under position coach Terry Mills. Two starters return in senior Tre Rosserand sophomore Tarrin Mitchell, both of which were thrust into the mix early in 2015. Mitchell led the way for the returning corners in 2015, registering 27 tackles and a pair of interceptions while Rosser posted 17 tackles and a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Along side Rosser and Mitchell are a handful of talented but inexperienced players looking to make their mark. This past spring, head coach Clint Conque brought in junior college transfers Aaron Foy and Trent Perriman and the duo showed their talents throughout spring with both settling in to take reps with both the ones and twos early in fall camp.
Two incoming freshmen will also have a chance to make a splash, depending on how quickly they can adjust to the position. Hometown player Alex Gregory and Zach Hall of Tyler Lee both put together incredible high school careers, but their primary positions were both on offense as they are faced with the challenge of acclimating quickly to playing on the outside.
The Lumberjack corners, as well as the majority of other positions, were eager heading into Friday's fifth practice of fall camp as it marked the first time the 'Jacks would be in full pads, increasing the physicality. The weather once again didn't do SFA any favors, registering 99 degrees with a heat index of 112 as the 3:45 practice got underway.
With SFA in full pads, it marked the first time of the fall season where tackling drills could be practiced and refined. While most of the players have been playing this game for as long as 10 years, a major emphasis was still placed on seeing what they hit, keeping the head up and squaring up to the ball carrier.
As practice shifted to seven-on-seven and full team periods, the SFA defense began to implement their blitz packages aiming to cause a disruption with the Lumberjack offensive unit. The schemes had their intended effect as a number of strong plays from the cornerbacks, including an interception from Perriman and breakups from Mitchell, Foy and Hall.
Despite being in full pads, SFA held off on going live during the 21-period practice, erring on the side of caution to avoid injuries. The Lumberjacks will go live on Saturday, however, as SFA holds the first scrimmage of fall camp. The 'Jacks should run through roughly 75-80 plays, getting underway at 4 p.m. at Homer Bryce Stadium.