“It’s tough to gauge with only one full-pad practice, but I thought we had a good first week,” Thomsen said. “We have lot of guys returning who already understand what we do from a scheme standpoint on both sides of the ball.”
That was Head Coach Chris Thomsen's early assessment. Edmund Gates is the player mentioned as "perhaps the most impressive" on the field. Other WRs mentioned were Doug Pierce and Chance McCoy. Patrick Washington and former Angelo State Ram, Kyle Fox, both had solid first weeks, while Clark Harrell and Mitchell Gale have been manning the QB position while Zach Stewart recovers from surgery.
Defensively, ACU returns the bulk of their key players.
“We’ve got a lot of guys on that side of the ball who grew up last year, and we’re expecting big things from them in 2009,” Thomsen said. “We’ve got a couple of guys coming in, but we don’t really have a lot of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. I feel really comfortable with where we are in our progress defensively, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of our younger guys grow and mature.”
With the return of most of last year's team and depth at every position, Angelo State head football coach Dale Carr is excited to have the most intense spring workouts since his arrival on campus.
"Years past we didn't have the depth that we have this spring," said Carr. "We're having a high-contact, very physical spring and I'm really impressed with the intensity level on both sides of the ball."
Sparking that high-level of play is the return of junior quarterback Josh Neiswander. After starting all 10 games as a sophomore in 2007, Neiswander was injured in the foruth quarter of the Rams' season-opening loss at Texas State last September.
"Josh is not back to the speed the had at this time last year, but he's actually stronger," said Carr. "He's been able to do a lot of lifting and now his upper body strength is really good. By sitting back and watching last fall, it has been a better learning experience for him. He has established himself as a leader on and off the field and returns with a renewed committment to the game."