Camp Report #21: Prepping for the Dress Rehearsal
Jake Rourke
Jake Rourke

Aug. 17, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State football team went through its standard practice procedure Friday night under the lights at Hancock Stadium, as the Redbirds prepare for their final scrimmage of the fall training camp on Saturday night.

Head coach Denver Johnson liked what he saw during Friday's practice, as the team begins to solidify its starting lineup.

"I felt practice went pretty good today, I have really continued to be impressed by the guys," said Johnson. "I think our offensive execution is getting better, and I really like some things that I am seeing on defense. I think with a live scrimmage situation, there will be some opportunities to make some great plays. Our field goal kicking has also gotten a lot better, which is encouraging, and we hope to get some work done in that area in the scrimmage tomorrow as well.

"Once we get into next week, we will be getting into game-prep mode. We will be focusing on our first opponent, Drake, and we have a longer time to get ready for them. We will start talking about what we want to do in situations and start solidifying the depth chart. There comes a point in time where you're not practicing anymore, but you're rehearsing. As we get into next week, we will be rehearsing what we want to do in our first game."

Kevin Mazur and Tyler Funk showed improvement during the field goal kicking segment, as the pair each went 3-for-4 from 42 yards, while Funk was a perfect 2-for-2 from just over 45 yards. The Redbirds also began to solidify their rotation of kickoff returners, as Eyad Salem, Parrish Fisher, Kelvin Chandler and Jason Horton all took reps during the kickoff coverage session.

In the continuing competition for the starting receiver spots, Jake Rourke and Warren McCarty led all receivers in the 7-on-7 drill with three catches apiece, while Salem added two receptions.

The Redbirds will hold their annual Red/White scrimmage in conjunction with the Redbird Fan Fair, which begins Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at "The Plaza", located in between Redbird Arena and Horton Field House. The `Birds will suit up and hit the turf at Hancock Stadium at 7 p.m.

Admission to the scrimmage is free to the public.

• Illinois State facilities crew members tested out the newly installed scoreboard during the Redbirds' practice, and could possibly be up and running for the scrimmage Saturday.
• Many of the Redbirds decided to switch jerseys with their fellow teammates, causing confusion for the coaches and spectators on who was really making the plays during the team period.