Kats tuned in for Keeler’s first real spring practices at SHSU

Sam Houston State’s football head coach K.C. Keeler has the ball rolling for the spring as the Bearkats enter their first real spring practice with him in charge.

Being able to be all on one accord and trusting each other is a big focus for spring ball now that they have Keeler’s system under their belts.

“Everybody is focused this year,” redshirt freshman defensive end P.J. Hall said. “Everyone is on the same page and wants to be better than we were last year.”

The Bearkats had a slow start last season, going 1-3 through the first four games. After the Colorado State-Pueblo game, the Kats caught fire to finish the final eight games 7-1 while making a huge playoff run.

A big question this offseason is the quarterback battle between sophomore Jared Johnson and transfer Jeremiah Briscoe from Alabama-Birmingham.

“Briscoe has been pretty good,” Hall said. “He has a strong arm but he is just not as athletic as Johnson is.”

Due to Johnson’s surgery earlier in the semester, he is not participating in spring ball. The quarterbacks include sophomore Don King III along with Briscoe taking first team reps by splitting time. However, King III’s arm has been bothering him this spring.

“He has not been at 100 percent because his arm is hurting,” Hall said. “He is playing good just not as he was before.”

The battle that is highly anticipated will take off during two-a-days when Johnson is cleared to play again.

Meanwhile, the Bearkats understand that they cannot have a slow start like last season.

“Last year we were just getting used to the coaches,” Hall said. We are now learning the new offense and defense. This year it is more of perfecting everything and also fixing problems we made last season. We don’t want to make the same mistakes this coming season.”

Spring ball has been up-tempo with tons of drills. Being active in the weight room, the Bearkats compete against one another to beat each other out for the best 2015 team.

The energy this offseason has been special, and the chemistry is tighter than ever after having a fantastic playoff run that ended at the hands of North Dakota State in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs.

Ropes, tires, suicides, cones and footwork drills have brought out the intensity on and off the field. Vertical jumps, long jumps and 40-yard dashes are being recorded now before the summer to see if it’s improvements in their times.

Spring football should continue to be a fun one for the Bearkats as they prepare for the annual Orange vs. White game April 10.

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