FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Four practices into spring ball and the Northern Arizona football team is continuing to work hard to be prepared for the upcoming season. The Lumberjacks have a total of 15 practices scheduled for the fall, as they look to compete once again for the Big Sky Conference title in the fall.
One area of question going into the 2014 season will be, "How will NAU's defense stack up against previous years after the loss of so many seniors?
"I think we're seeing improvement from our guys who haven't had a chance to get a lot reps before this, but we've got a long ways to go before we get to where we want to be," defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Andy Thompson said.
The limited amount of time allowed for practices in the spring has taught the team to be patient. Four practices are not enough to get everything right, but the Lumberjacks are using team meetings, practice and each other to get on the right track.
"This is a very coachable group and I'm happy with their attitude and effort," said Thompson. "We need to continue to have a sense of urgency to improve every day."
NAU has always done a great job of relying on its upperclassmen to lead the way, and this spring is no different.
"Those guys (the upperclassmen) are trying to teach the standard of play that we want to have all the time," said Thompson. "They are doing a great job. Austin Hasquet, Zach McDonnell and Marcus Alford - those guys have played so much more and they are doing a great job. They know that if the guys around them aren't any good, then they're not going to be any good. It's a team game and they are doing a good job of leading."
The Lumberjacks have 11 more scheduled practices, including their spring game on April 26th.
April 3 • Practice #5 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 5 • Practice #6 • 10-12 p.m. • Lower Field
April 8 • Practice #7 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 11 • Practice #8 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 12 • Practice #9 • 2:30-4:30 p.m. • Lower Field (Full Pack)
April 15 • Practice #10 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 17 • Practice #11 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 19 • Practice #12 • 10-12 p.m. • Lower Field (Full Pack)
April 22 • Practice #13 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 24 • Practice #14 • 4-6 p.m. • Upper Fields
April 26 • Practice #15 • 2:05 p.m. • Lumberjack Stadium (Spring Game)