Football team finishes fall practices

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The Eastern football team finished its slate of 15 full practices for the fall. The practices were part of a spring ball model that had been transferred to the fall since the Panthers were not playing any games.

They finished things off with a scrimmage Saturday, after which head coach Adam Cushing said he was happy with the work the team put in to all 15 practices.

“I just said to the team, this was absolutely incredible growth,” he said. “We embraced being one day better and I can guarantee you we are 15 days better after the passion that we had out here today, I’m so excited to get back on the football field on Jan. 21, we get to start practicing again for our spring season.”

The season is scheduled to begin Feb. 21 against Tennessee-Martin, which will be the first of seven conference games the Panthers will play. It will also be the first game for Eastern in nearly 15 months.

In their matchup last season, Eastern fell to the Skyhawks by a score of 27-18.

Cushing said another promising thing he saw throughout the fall practices was the willingness of players to step up and fill in for players who may have been injured or quarantined for COVID-19.

“That’s probably what I’m most proud of, is that there was a next man up mentality,” he said. “We had lots of guys go down here, a guy go down there, but it was just, ‘OK that’s great. That’s more reps for the next guy.’ Everybody embraced that opportunity and that’s going to give us a chance to be successful, because right, wrong or otherwise, that’s part of football. There’s always going to be an opportunity for the next guy to go in and get reps.”

For the final scrimmage Saturday, Cushing said that there was a score being kept for the first time, with the defense being spotted some points in an attempt to keep the score close.

“We spotted them eight points and it was an eight point game at the end, so maybe we shouldn’t have spotted them eight points,” he said. “Obviously when the offense has the opportunity to go and score touchdowns, etc., we wanted to make it as close as possible. Then you had an opportunity, it was a one-score game at the very end, to get in a two-minute situation, and that’s what we wanted. Continue to put in different situations and have them look up at the scoreboard and see that we’ve got to compete all the time. That was a big reason we had some great competition out here.”

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 of [email protected]