Lincoln holds spring scrimmage

Coach to players: 'Stay healthy'

One concern rose above the rest for Lincoln head football coach Mike Jones.

“Stay healthy,” the second-year head man said following the Blue Tigers’ annual spring game Saturday afternoon at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. “Most spring games, it’s more for the fans than it is for us. You worry about somebody getting hurt the last practice.”

Lincoln appeared to stay injury-free during the two-hour program of team drills and a controlled-situation scrimmage.

“I think it went OK,” Jones said. “We have a lot of guys that we kept out of practice. (Last season’s starting quarterback) Jake (Morris) only took about 10 snaps and then we had the young guys go. We were up and down.”

The Gray team (offense) faced off against the Blue team (defense) in a variety of different situations: two-minute drill, from midfield, deep in both their own and opposing territory, red zone and first-and-goal, among others.

“The first time we ran hurry-up, we went down the field and scored,” Jones said. “We just couldn’t get in a groove because we had so many different guys. We had a bunch of people playing different positions, and then you had the fact Jake only played about 10 snaps. Then we took (wide receiver) Khirey (Draine) out as well. We had a lot of guys in different positions that they hadn’t been used to. I thought they did solid.”

Morris connected with Andre Borney on a long touchdown pass early in the proceedings. Morris then stood on the sidelines the remainder of the game.

Hudson Fonseca took over at quarterback and tossed a pair of touchdown passes. He hit Chris Willis for a 32-yard touchdown across the middle, and later took advantage of a fortuitous bounce off a defender’s outstretched hand for a 20-yard touchdown pass to Bryson Winfrey in the right corner of the end zone.

“Hudson did a solid job for us,” Jones said. “Not knowing the offense and learning it this spring. The two quarterbacks (Moses Larkin was the other who saw numerous repititions) did a solid job. But we’ve got to get them better.

“Winfrey had his best scrimmage of the spring.”

Tion Blair claimed responsibility for the Blue Tigers’ fourth and final score, a 15-yard scamper around the right side.

Defensive highlights included a fourth-and-goal stop inside the 2, a fumble recovery from Kendrick Causey and a defensive safety early in the game.

“Those guys flew around,” Jones said of the defense. “That’s what I liked about it. Robert Felton, we’ve been waiting for him to make some plays in the secondary, and I think he did. He made some hits and plays. Darryl Blackmon did a solid job just looking at it. John Rose came back and played well.

“I thought the defensive line played solid.”

The scrimmage wrapped up the spring season for the Blue Tigers.

“The spring was solid,” Jones said. “We’ve got a long way to go. When we watch the film, they’ll understand they’re still making entirely too many mistakes. But we’re getting better. We’re playing faster and playing with each other, and that’s what we need.”

Jones pointed to improvement of the three quarterbacks and four freshman defensive backs — Markuice Savage, Keldon Warfield, Asim Manuel and Brian Smith — as highlights of the spring.

Now comes the summer offseason before things pick up again in August with fall practice and Lincoln’s season opener Sept. 5 at Lindenwood.

“Bigger, stronger and faster,” Jones said of his team’s focus for the summer. “This offseason you have an opportunity to work out and do the things to get yourself ready to play in the toughest division. The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, we’ve already talked about that (being the best conference in NCAA Division II football). They’ve got to get ready for 11 tough games.”

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