By Greg Halbleib
NORMAL – Illinois State University football met the media at Hancock Stadium Tuesday during the early stages of training camp for the 2019 season.
Redbird coach Brock Spack said this team is smart, evidenced by its willingness to hold everyone accountable through a summer challenge.
“They had to monitor themselves throughout the offseason until training camp with the winners having dinner at my house, eight guys to a team,” Spack explained. “It made it pleasureable as a coach because the team is governing themselves which is what you want.”
Spack said although the team is still young, this year’s learning curve is less steep.
“We’re able to throw more stuff at them from a schematic standpoint because they’re older players,” Spack said. “By no means are we a veteran team. Most of this team will be back next year. They are more experienced, but more experience doesn’t guarantee more wins.”
Spack said although running back James Robinson is earning early attention as one of the best in FCS, depth at tailback is reason for optimism in the running game.
“(Robinson) did not go through spring practice and now we’re trying to ‘pitch-count’ him in certain scenarios, but he’s got to get ready to play a game so there’s a fine line,” Spack said. “But I think he sees that things aren’t too different when he’s not in there. That leads you to play your best every day.”
The Redbirds open the season August 31st at Northern Illinois.
Greg Halbleib can be reached at email@example.com.