Braves showing improvement

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

MURFREESBORO – Practice may not make perfect, but it certainly helps.

Chowan College is in the midst of their first true spring football practice in school history.

While the Braves conducted a spring camp last season, there wasn’t much the then National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III team could do.

Not so this season.

The Braves and second-year skipper Lorick Atkinson are hard at work with a team that will look vastly different from the first one fielded by the coach last season.

With a year of recruiting and working in the classroom nearly complete, Chowan took the field for a spring blue-white game as the offensive and defensive units locked horns here Saturday morning.

With Atkinson roaming the field spotting weaknesses and encouraging his team, the Chowan team looked already vastly improved from last season.

A year ago the Braves had 40 in spring training while this season sees more than 80 on the field.

While admitting that he is pleased with the change, Atkinson insists the group will have to continue to get better.

&uot;You looked good today,&uot; he told the team after the scrimmage, &uot;but we’re not there yet. We still have a lot of work to do in the classroom and on the field.&uot;

With a transfer at quarterback, the Braves moved the ball well on both the first and second defensive unit, actually getting their first score ever on a first team defense.

Offensive Coordinator David Earp was able to use most of the playbook as his squad moved the football.

While they were able to move the football, the first team defense was solid as well, giving up only one score and forcing a pair of three-and-outs to go with a turnover.

Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Richard Lage has much more speed on his unit than was fielded in 2005 and the squad looks to be ready to take the step to having a dominating offensive line.

The big difference is the shape of the players on the field. With the Chowan squad lifting weights and running on a regular basis, many of the returning players are in the best shape of their career.

The Braves will have one more opportunity to lock horns this spring as they go for another Blue-White scrimmage at 4 p.m. Wednesday. That scrimmage will be open to the public.

After that day, the Braves focus on the classroom and staying in shape until they return in August to prepare for their August 31 season-opener at Western Carolina University.