JONESBORO — After reporting to fall camp Wednesday and undergoing Media Day activities, the Arkansas State football squad held its initial camp practice under first-year head coach Blake Anderson Thursday afternoon leading up to its season opener Aug. 30 at home against Montana State.
The Red Wolves were originally scheduled to practice in the morning but had to move it to the afternoon due to inclement weather. A-State began its on-field preparation with a two-hour practice session that featured special teams work, as well as drills in separate position groups and as offensive and defensive units.
"I thought the energy level and enthusiasm was great, but the execution, as you expect for a first practice, was pretty sloppy," Anderson said. "All in all, it was a good start, but we have a lot of work to do. We have plenty of things to fix, but as long as the energy and intensity are where we need them, then the rest of the stuff will come with reps."
This was the first organized team practice featuring the 2014 signing class and A-State’s returning lettermen on the field at the same time. The Red Wolves also announced that center Jonathan Hamilton and punter Austin McGehee have joined the team. Meanwhile, punter Paul Jones has left the team due to personal reasons.
Hamilton, 6-3 and 290 pounds, comes to A-State after playing two years at Riverside City College in Riverside, Calif. In 2013 he was part of an offensive line that paved the way for 3,115 yards on the ground for an average of 259.6 yards per game. The Tigers went 10-2 during the season and averaged 41.7 points per game. In 2012 he helped lead the Tigers to a 9-2 record and contributed to a rushing attack that gained 2,019 yards. A native of Corona, Calif., Hamilton played his high school football at Centennial High School.
McGehee, a native of Pine Bluff signed with Purdue just a few months ago but left the program to join the Red Wolves. As a senior in 2013 he averaged 42.2 yards per punt and converted 10-of-13 field goal opportunities along with 50-of-51 extra point attempts. He also had 56 touchbacks and helped lead Pine Bluff High School to the 6A state championship game. He was a three-star recruit on ESPN, Scout, and 247Sports.com.
A-State returned to practice Friday morning.