The Flames are approximately halfway into their spring practice schedule, and we had an opportunity to speak with Coach Gill to get his assessment of the team at this point. Here are some of the main takeaways from that interview.
- Redshirt-senior running back Todd Macon suffered a non-contact knee injury during practice which required surgery. Gill said, “He’ll have a shot to come back during the season, maybe sometime in October, November, maybe. As we get further along, we’ll get a better estimation.” Since he has not missed a prior season due to injury, Macon is not eligible for a medical redshirt season, 2017 is his final year with the Flames. Macon was 2nd on the team in rushing in 2016, finishing the year with 620 yards and 7 touchdowns while starting 10 games.
- With Macon’s loss, the Flames will lean on Carrington Mosely and Frankie Hickson who each had significant roles in 2016. Those two combined for over 1,100 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Gill says the coaching staff feels good about Mosely and Hickson, but there may need to be some adjustments made behind them. He mentioned Mitchell Lewis, who came into the program a year ago as a running back, and after his redshirt 2016 season, was moved to fullback/tight end. Gill says the Flames may move Lewis back to running back after this injury, but it’s too early to make that final determination.
- Gill on the running back depth: “We’ll still continue to go out and recruit. With the FBS situation, we still can possibly bring in some more people. So, we’ll evaluate that and see if there’s someone else we can bring in at running back.”
- Coach Gill highlighted a few guys that have stood out through the team’s 6 spring practices so far. He mentioned defensive end Javon Frazier, wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden, offensive lineman Dontae Duff, and defensive back Corbin Jackson. Frazier is a redshirt-sophomore who saw limited time in a reserve role last year. Gandy-Golden saw playing time as a true freshman last year, and finished the season with 21 receptions for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns. Duff started all 11 games as a redshirt-freshman a season ago. Jackson is the 3rd leading tackler returning from 2016, as he had 49 tackles and added 3 tackles for loss.
- Gill also mentioned that cornerbacks Jeremy Peters, Tyrin Holloway, and Chris Turner have “all been steady” during the spring. Cornerback may be one of the team’s most experience positions.
- The team went live for a scrimmage for approximately 32 plays on Saturday. Gill said the offense and defense both had their moments, a stark contrast from the week prior when the defense dominated. Gill also commented that the team made a 52 yard field goal, but also missed one field goal.