Mills pleased as Bucs complete first day of two-a-daysAugust 7, 2003
By CSU Sports Information
|Coach Jay Mills is pleased with team's progress|
CHARLESTON, SC – Charleston Southern’s Buccaneers went through their first day of two-a-day practices on Thursday, working in full gear with full contact in the morning and scaling down to shorts and helmets in the afternoon.
First year head coach Jay Mills says the Buccaneers are making steady and solid progress in every practice.
"We have installed our entire offensive, defensive and special teams package and I have been very pleased with this team’s attitude and work ethic," said Mills. "We’ve put a lot on them early and we’ve actually executed better than I expected at this point. We’ll scale back on some things and work on even better execution in the coming days but I have certainly been pleased with what I have seen to this point. We’re not ready to play a game yet but we’re making good progress."
Mills cited the performance and work of several players on each side of the ball in Thursday’s workouts. On offense, receivers Ryan Fleck, Don Phillips and Aaron Dunklin have become a solid pass-catching trio. Junior tailback Travis Mays has been impressive out of the backfield, while Mills continues to put five quarterbacks through the repetitions of learning a complicated offense.
Junior Darren Swiggett is the retuning starter but coming off shoulder surgery in the off-season. Redshirt sophomore Clint Chappell took all the snaps in the spring and is competing for the starting nod, while freshmen Adam Garrison, Collin Drafts and Jeff Crisp continue to get a grasp of the offense.
"We’re about where I expected to be with the quarterbacks," said Mills. "For freshmen everywhere in the country, heads are swimming about now and our freshmen are no different."
During the first week of fall drills, Mills has been impressed with the development of the Buccaneers’ offensive front. The line is led by junior center Bryce Gregory, a second-team all-Big South selection in 2002.
"Without a doubt, the offensive line as a whole has been our most improved area of this football team from spring to fall," said Mills. "I can already see them developing into a very cohesive unit. I see great potential there right now. The success of this offense begins with those guys in the trenches."
Defensively, linebackers Bowe Butler and Martin Arce, along with end Jonathan West and cornerback Kijana Thomas have stood out in the early going. Freshman linebacker Jonna Lee has been one of the most impressive newcomers in the fall.
"You can tell that Jonna is a football player, a kid with great intensity and a love for the game," said Mills.
Charleston Southern will practice again twice on Friday, squeezing in media day in between. The Buccaneers will be available for pictures and interviews beginning at 1:15 p.m. in Friday. Mills will address the media at a luncheon in the Whitfield Stadium Center at noon.