Arkansas State football holds second spring scrimmage, one week away from Pack Day Spring Game

The Red Wolves QB loads up to pass as head football coach Butch Jones looks on in first...
The Red Wolves QB loads up to pass as head football coach Butch Jones looks on in first scrimmage of spring.(KAIT-TV)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 7:33 PM CST|Updated: Apr. 8, 2023 at 9:53 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State football held its second scrimmage of the spring in practice number 11 of Spring Camp Saturday. The Red Wolves are just one week away from the Pack Day Spring Game.

Butch Jones says his pack is becoming a more physical team with each practice. The Red Wolves had several situational drills, including the two-minute drill and a red zone lockout. He said the scrimmage was a mixed bag that saw some explosive plays offensively, but a struggle with consistency.

“As a coach, it’s hard because you want to see explosive plays on offense, we’ve had very minimal this spring,” Jones said. “But then defensively you don’t want to see the explosive plays. And we spent an inordinate amount of time on tackling, I thought we reached too much. I thought we were in poor body positions at times throughout the scrimmage, and then just our overall physicality in the line of scrimmage. And then the biggest question I’ve been asking our team each and every day is ‘Are you to the point where you can play winning football for four quarters?’ I thought we started kind of slow, kind of methodical starting off. I thought the energy picked up. And it’s been a challenging spring camp.”

There are several scarlet and black storylines. Raynor and Jaxon Dailey begin the A-State quarterback competition. The defense will look to take on a new identity after graduating several playmakers including DE/LB Kivon Bennett and LB Jordan Carmouche.

Standout safety Justin Parks was one of the players spotlighted by Jones as a player who has stepped up in the Spring, but he had a bit of a setback. The junior will miss the rest of spring with a high ankle sprain. Jones said prior to the injury, Parks had the best camp of anyone so far. He is expected to be ready to go for fall camp.

There are new faces on the coaching staff including tight ends coach Nick Grimes and special teams coordinator Josh Conklin.

“Really excited about Nick,” Jones said. “You can’t put a value on being a coordinator. He was a coordinator at Campbell University. They had great success on offense, and then was a tight ends coach at UAB. We’re excited about him. He’s going to help us in the run game but also in the throw game.”

Conklin reunites with defensive coordinator Rob Harley. The two coached together at Pitt.

“That was one of the benefits,” Jones said following the March 18 practice. “He’s very familiar with the defense. So he knows the ins and outs... The vast experiences that he has, not only with our defensive scheme but the other defensive schemes that he’s coached in on ran is going to be beneficial for us to move forward.”

Wide receivers are another storyline to watch this offseason. A-State graduated key wideouts Te’Vailance Hunt and Champ Flemings. This year’s group looks to be an intriguing one with a returning starter in Jeff Foreman, Syracuse transfer Courtney Jackson and the return of All-Sun Belt receiver, former Red Wolf and South Carolina transfer Corey Rucker.

Rucker is off to the side doing drills during spring ball as he recovers from a foot injury sustained at South Carolina last season as A-State awaits word surrounding his eligibility.

“He’ll be non-contact throughout the entire course of the spring,” Jones said. “We need to get him back healthy and then obviously he’s filed an appeal so we’ll see where that’s at down the road.”

“I like the direction where we’re headed,” Jones said after March 12th’s practice. “I think were greatly improved from last year. But again, it’s going to get back to now competitive depth, that’s going to be a concern as well. So every rep that every individual gets is vital in this spring.”


Practice 12: Tuesday, April 11

Practice 13: Wednesday, April 12

Practice 14: Friday, April 14

PACK DAY SPRING GAME: Saturday, April 15 (2:15 p.m.)