JONESBORO, Ark. (A-State) – After reporting to fall camp yesterday and undergoing Media Day activities, the Arkansas State football squad held its initial camp practice under first-year head coach Blake Anderson Thursday afternoon leading up to its season opener Aug. 30 at home against Montana State.
The Red Wolves were originally scheduled to practice in the morning but had to move it to the afternoon due to inclement weather. A-State began its on-field preparation with a two-hour practice session that featured special teams work, as well as drills in separate position groups and as offensive and defensive units.
"I thought the energy level and enthusiasm was great, but the execution, as you expect for a first practice, was pretty sloppy," Anderson said. "All in all, it was a good start, but we have a lot of work to do. We have plenty of things to fix, but as long as the energy and intensity are where we need them, then the rest of the stuff will come with reps."
This was the first organized team practice featuring the 2014 signing class and A-State's returning lettermen on the field at the same time. The Red Wolves also announced that center Jonathan Hamilton and punter Austin McGehee have joined the team. Meanwhile, punter Paul Jones has left the team due to personal reasons.
Hamilton, 6-3 and 290 pounds, comes to A-State after playing two years at Riverside City College in Riverside, Calif. In 2013 he was part of an offensive line that paved the way for 3,115 yards on the ground for an average of 259.6 yards per game. The Tigers went 10-2 during the season and averaged 41.7 points per game. In 2012 he helped lead the Tigers to a 9-2 record and contributed to a rushing attack that gained 2,019 yards. A native of Corona, Calif., Hamilton played his high school football at Centennial High School.
McGehee, a native of Pine Bluff, Ark., signed with Purdue just a few months ago but left the program to join the Red Wolves. As a senior in 2013 he averaged 42.2 yards per punt and converted 10-of-13 field goal opportunities along with 50-of-51 extra point attempts. He also had 56 touchbacks and helped lead Pine Bluff High School to the 6A state championship game. He was a three-star recruit on ESPN, Scout, and 247Sports.com.
The team reported yesterday and started its day with the annual A-State Football Media Day, which featured a number of local and regional print and broadcast media outlets in attendance. Following a luncheon courtesy of LongHorn Steakhouse, Coach Anderson held a press conference for all the media members in attendance. At the conclusion of the press conference, media interviews with Red Wolves' players and coaches were conducted. Individual photos and video introductions of the Red Wolves' players and coaching staff were also taken.
Following the media day activities, Anderson held an orientation session that included all members of the football and athletics department staff introducing themselves and giving a brief overview of what their function is for the team. The newcomers to the team also introduced themselves and the event concluded with a team meal. After the meal, the players reported back to the football facility for their first team meeting of fall camp.
A-State returns to practice at 8:35 Friday morning.