Football returns to practice in spring

Senior Darian Yahyavi, No. 29, and sophomore Tray Carr, No. 17, prepare to begin a drill at Wednesday’s practice. This is the second spring practice of the year. The team is hoping to strengthen its defense by trying new strategies and switching positions. || Taylor McStoots/The News

Senior Darian Yahyavi, No. 29, and sophomore Tray Carr, No. 17, prepare to begin a drill at Wednesday’s practice. This is the second spring practice of the year. The team is hoping to strengthen its defense by trying new strategies and switching positions. || Taylor McStoots/The News

With only 13 practices left this spring, Racer football is considering every moment a precious one.

The first spring practice landed before Spring Break this year, where Head Coach Chris Hatcher said he was very pleased with the team’s performance.

Walter Powell, senior wide receiver of St. Louis, said the first few spring practices are more of a learning experience than anything.

Powell said the tempo and motivation between practices has already increased. Execution of plays and consistency seems to also be a focus of the team.

Hatcher has two objectives in mind for the spring practices: implementing a new defensive scheme and finding the next Murray State quarterback.

After hiring two new defensive coaches in February, Dennis Therrell as defensive coordinator and Davern Williams coaching defensive line, changes have already been made to the Murray State defensive scheme.

Later into last season, the Racers had a weaker rushing defense against Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State. Hatcher and Powell believe the new strategies will strengthen the team altogether in the upcoming season.

“We’re switching positions and the players have to learn, and the coaches have to understand the players in those positions,” Hatcher said. “We’re worrying about the run first, and the pass second.”

Hatcher also mentioned the possibility of Corey Addison, senior linebacker of Jacksonville, Fla., playing as center this year. He said Addison has performed well in the position

this spring. Janawski Davis, sophomore wide receiver of Eight Mile, Ala., has been playing as an inside receiver, rather than an outside receiver.

Hatcher said he is also happy to have senior linebacker Sam Small back in practice, after sitting out due to an injury last season. Perhaps the open position under most scrutiny right now is the one All-American Casey Brockman left last season.

“It’s going to affect us because (Brockman) was experienced and a four-year starter,” Powell said.

Sophomore KD Humphries, junior Parks Frazier, junior CJ Bennett and senior Spencer Phillips are currently competing for the starting quarterback position.

Powell said Humphries has stepped up and taken control of the offense in the last few practices. He said it should not be difficult to build up the offense because the system Brockman played under is well understood by Humphries and Frazier.

Hatcher said he believes Humphries and Frazier have an advantage because they understand the offensive scheme and can distribute the ball well.

“We chart every throw they make in practice, and keep up with it and who’s knowledgeable,” Hatcher said. “This is why Humphries and Frazier have the advantage right now.”

Hatcher said he will continue to chart plays and evaluate execution of plays until the end of spring. By then, the Racers will have a starting quarterback for the fall 2013 season.

Story by Lexy Gross, Assistant Sports Editor.