Today: Jun 17, 2024

Ready for the spring game

Photo Courtesy | sportingnewsct.com SCSU football will play their annual spring game Saturday, April 20 at Jess Dow Field.

Andrew Anastasio – Sports Editor

Coming off a 3-8 2013 campaign, the Southern Connecticut State football team practiced last Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming spring game on April 20.

“We had a very good offseason,” Head Coach Rich Cavanaugh said. “Our guys have worked hard in the offseason strength and conditioning program, and I think the attitude has been good. From a spring practices perspective, the effort has been there along with the focus. We are doing the things we need to do to get better.”

Going into the 2013 campaign, the Owls will be without starting wide receivers Willie Epps and Jayson Holt. The team will also be without starting tight end Jerome Cunningham, who recently was selected to participate in the NFL Super Regional Combine held at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX.

Despite losing several offensive starters, Cavanaugh said he expects guys like Lewis Edney, C.J. Staggers, Gary Williams, and Vito Fornarelli to make an immediate impact.

Photo Courtesy | sportingnewsct.com SCSU football will play their annual spring game Saturday, April 20 at Jess Dow Field.
Photo Courtesy | sportingnewsct.com
SCSU football will play their annual spring game Saturday, April 20 at Jess Dow Field.

“All those guys are working very hard,” Cavanaugh said. “They have shown quite a bit of improvement and I think they all could be quality receivers. I think we have skill guys who are going to be quality players this season.”

The Owls will return starting running back Vaughn Magee, who rushed for 1,141 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012. The team will also welcome back starting senior quarterback Jacob Jablonski, who in 2012 threw for 1,675 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Jablonski said the teams’ focus this spring is building confidence.

“Coming into this spring, a key focus for us is to believe in ourselves and focus on what is being taught,” Jablonski said. “Coach strongly emphasizes that, and I think if we can focus on that and do what we are supposed to do, it’s really going to make things happen. If we believe that, then we can do anything.”

Last season, the Owls offense ranked eighth (second-to-last) in the Northeast-10 Conference. Collectively, they averaged 318.5 yards per game. The passing game also saw an eighth place finish with 195.5 yards per game. However, they did finish sixth in rushing with 122.9 yards per game.

“As a quarterback, I don’t think a lot needs to be done,” Jablonski said. “What I do think is important is we have to focus as an offense. Coach pointed out the other day saying ‘it is different from defense where one guy can make a play and maybe the rest of the defense can make a mistake or miss an assignment.’ On offense, it is important that if one guy does their job, the other 10 guys need to do the same. If we can do that, then we will be successful.”

Jablonski said he’s going to miss Epps, who led the team in receiving in 2012 with 655 yards and four touchdowns.

“I’m going to miss throwing the ball to him,” Jablonski said. “It was fun, and having him out there was a pleasure. I am definitely going to miss him.”

For the remainder of the spring preparations until the spring game on April 20 at Jess Dow Field, Cavanaugh said he’s looking for his team to improve in all areas of the game.

“I think we need to focus on all phases of our game,” Cavanaugh said. “I can not pin point one area that needs the most improvement. We all need to collectively continue to improve our game.”

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