Camp Report #11: Showing some Toughness
Jarek Thomas
Jarek Thomas

Aug. 10, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. - As the Illinois State football team continued its 2007 fall training camp, the Redbirds showed a glimpse of the toughness that will be needed to compete in the Gateway Football Conference during the team's 24, five-minute period session at the grass practice area Friday afternoon.

"We're right in the middle of camp and I thought we really came out today and showed some toughness," said Johnson. "We also showed some determination to have a good practice. There are some really good things that are starting to show on both sides of the ball, and I thought they rallied and did well today even with the heat. I was also pleased with the amount of hustle that I saw today. There are a lot of position battles that are also starting to emerge that quite a few guys that are in the mix."

The Redbirds, who practice in full pads, spent the early part of practice improving its special teams. Bobby Kelsey nailed two field goals from 45 yards during the field goal segment, and also handled the majority of kicks during the kickoff session. Jason Horton, Kelvin Chandler, Jake Rourke and Kevett Mickle were utilized as the returners.

During the 7-on-7 drill, quarterback Luke Drone was 5-for-9, while Preston Earl went 5-for-6 and Kevin Brockway was 4-for-6. Jason Horton led the receivers with four catches, while Dan Weiner also made two diving catches on the sidelines during the drill. Jermaine Malcolm and Kelvyn Hemphill each had pass breakups to lead the defense.

The level of toughness became apparent during the Redbirds' final team period. As the offense and defense battled for position, each side came up with big plays. During the goal line segment, Cortes Rice pounded in back-to-back touchdowns and Bert Whigham caught a touchdown pass from Earl, while Mike Piton, Bill Hronec and Jarek Thomas all had run-stopping tackles.

The `Birds will return to practice Saturday, with the first session slated for 8:30 a.m.

Warren McCarty returned to practice Friday only to leave early after hurting his shoulder in the individual drills.
Nick Williams and Chris Riley did not practice Friday, after suffering injuries on Thursday.

Anthony from Cincinnati, Ohio, wanted to ask Kevin Brockway: "What were your emotions when coach Fuente left for TCU? Fuente and coach Cornelsen's coaching styles are almost opposites, how have you adapted to the transition in styles?"

Kevin said: "I was happy for him, it was a great opportunity for him. He's a good coach and a football genius, so when I heard he was going to TCU; I knew he would do great things. Coach Cornelsen is more of a laid-back coach and takes things in stride. He's not as in-your-face as coach Fuente was, but that wasn't a bad thing. I'm much more of a laid-back person when it comes to learning from mistakes. Both coaches have different styles but both have worked for us."

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