The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Hounds prep for spring football season

ENMU to start practices Monday, with scrimmage set for April 13.

 

March 16, 2018

Christopher Cook

The Greyhound football team will start spring practices Monday. The Hounds went 8-2 last season with a third-place finish in the Lone Star Conference.

PORTALES - Fresh off of a 2017 season in which it narrowly lost out on a Lone Star Conference title, while also cracking the NCAA Division II Top 25 for the first time since 2003, the Eastern New Mexico football team will be back in action this coming Monday to begin its annual spring practices, which will conclude with the Green and Silver Game on April 13.

The Hounds, who went 8-2 a year ago, barely missed the Division II playoffs in '17. And while great players like Kamal Cass have graduated, several other key players, such as quarterback Wyatt Strand, running backs Paul Terry and Tayshaun Gary and defensive back Dante Urrea are amongst the returning core for 2018.

"I think you always want to develop depth," second-year Greyhounds coach Kelley Lee said of his team's goals for this spring. "You know the guys who are back and what they can do. But it's guys like the redshirt freshmen who you want to develop. Get them more reps and opportunities and see what they can do."

Eastern will start practices on Monday, and will hold 15 of them until the annual Green and Silver Game held on April 13 at 6 p.m. While numerous schools struggle with injured players heading into the spring, Lee said his team is "very healthy," which should allow competition to not only flourish, but allow for more and more stuff to get done with each passing week.

Although none of the roughly 50 recruits from the "traditional" National Signing Day period are enrolled this spring, plenty of others do return. In particular, Lee is looking forward to the development of the defensive backfield, as four or five corners will compete for jobs, along with roughly the same amount of safeties.

"A lot of it will be changing defensive schemes," Lee said. "We're changing our defense to a 4-2-5, so we'll have five defensive backs. We'll be changing some of our coverages, so we'll see which guys can adapt to that."

As for the practices themselves, Lee says that the first portion of the spring is about installing ENMU's offense and defense, while the second-half of spring switches the focus to tweaking some things and preparing the team for its upcoming opponents.

As for the type of progress Lee would like to see his team make from the beginning of spring to the end of it, consistency is the key.

"I just want to see consistent development, rather than one step forward and two steps back," Lee explained. "I want us to naturally and steadily progress throughout the spring."

 

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