By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
The Morehead News
March 28, 2014 — Ever since the final horn went off against UNC-Charlotte at the end of the 2013 football season, MSU Coach Rob Tenyer was ready to get spring practice started.
He and the rest of the Eagles have had a long four and a half months to stew about their 3-9 season and now spring practices have sprung for MSU.
“Our players are excited to get going,” Tenyer said. “We’ve had a great offseason and our kids have worked their tail off to get bigger, stronger and faster. Now we get to see that in action as we transition all of those improvements to the field.”
From March 27 to April 17, the Eagles will have 14 practices leading up to the annual spring game at Jayne Stadium on April 19 at 5:15 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to tailgate at 2 p.m. The program also will have the inaugural alumni flag football game at 4 p.m. to give fans an entire day of the football experience.
Tenyer and the rest of his staff have lofty expectations in place as practices begin, mainly to get an idea of their top players on offense and defense.
“I want us to have some depth chart specifics when we leave spring football,” Tenyer said. “I want some competition for starting spots and also have the majority of our starters named. At this point there should be pushing for separation from our number one guys to our number two guys.”
Tenyer added: “I want us to have some depth chart specifics when we leave spring football. I want some competition for starting spots and also have the majority of our starters named. At this point there should be pushing for separation from our number one guys to our number two guys.”
The Eagles return several skill position players including Austin Gahafer, Rees Macshara, Kitaro Lewis on offense as well the top five of eight defenders for the 2014 season. Morehead State will have a veteran group of more than 25 upperclassmen to lead the 85th year of the program.
“This been one of my favorite teams I’ve been around my coaching career because their attitude is great,” Tenyer said. “The character and leadership of the team is incredible. Our spirits are high and they’re hungry to improve as a team and as a program.”
One area Tenyer has tweaked in the offseason is the run game. Morehead State ranked eighth in the Pioneer Football League in rushing offense at 128.8 yards a game.
“We’ve made formation changes and really utilized the personnel we have in the backfield,” Tenyer said. “We know we need rush the football better and our guys have made the commitment of finding better ways to run the football better.”
The numbers are not that much better on the defensive end either. They ranked last in rushing defense, giving up 280.6 yards on the ground. They were ninth in passing defense allowing 258.8 yards in the air.
Having five of the eight top tacklers back for another season, Tenyer is expecting those numbers to decrease.
“Our freshman linebackers had great gains in the offseason and we have a few redshirt players and a few others getting back from injury that can help us,” Tenyer said. “We need to make more plays at the line of scrimmage defend the run better if we’re going to have a chance to play for a PFL Championship in the future.”
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.