Aug. 11, 2011
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LEWISBURG, Pa. - The Bucknell football team completed its first two-a-day session of preseason camp on Thursday. The Bison wore shells during the morning session and donned the full pads for the afternoon workout. Bucknell got a reprieve from the high humidity that blanketed the first few days of practice earlier this week as it worked out under mostly sunny skies with comfortable upper-70s temperatures.
The morning practice featured work on the kicking game, while the team did some controlled 11-on-11 work in the afternoon. An assortment of individual and position work were also focuses during the time on the field.
"The guys responded to the two-a-day well," commented Bison second-year coach Joe Susan. "They have been at it for a stretch. This was practice number seven. The tempers get higher. We try to be smart about what we ask them to do in the morning. We went out in shells this morning and put a little more of an emphasis on the kicking game. Even with the challenge of two practices we're still able to run around and have a ball on the field, which is important."
Early in the afternoon practice session, Susan led the team through different drills that included scoring components. He would often yell out the current score and if the offense or defense was leading. This led to a lively atmosphere from many Bison players, especially the defensive backs.
"(The scoring drills) creates competitiveness and accountability because in the real game somebody wins and somebody doesn't win," said Susan.
A long touchdown pass from Burke Batten to Gabe Skwara and an interception by Sal Vallala were two of the many highlights during the afternoon's 11-on-11 play.
Thursday's afternoon practice marked the second time Bucknell had worn full pads this preseason.
"The only thing that is different is now we can tackle through the ground and we do some live cutting, which is important on both sides of the ball because if you want them to cut, you have to train them to cut," commented Susan.
Following practice, Susan noted that QB Brandon Wesley, DL Robert De La Rosa and DL Josh Eden have had strong preseason camps. Additionally, Susan mentioned freshmen RB Matthew Steinbeck, TE Patrick Kelly and TE Tyler Zbytek have shown some spark and will help the team.
Bucknell will continue preseason practice Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium. The Bison will have two more two-a-days (Saturday, Monday) in the upcoming days.