Bears complete first two-a-day practices

Bears complete first two-a-day practices

The Mercer University football team moved into its first two-a-day of the 2014 preseason camp on Tuesday to wrap up its first week of preseason camp.
MACON, Ga. (MERCER ATHLETICS RELEASE)– The Mercer University football team moved into its first two-a-day of the 2014 preseason camp on Tuesday to wrap up its first week of preseason camp.

The Bears opened with an 8 a.m. practice in full pads, before holding positional meetings in the afternoon. After enjoying mild weather to start training camp, the team got its first taste of practicing in 90-degree heat during its 5 p.m. workout this evening.

Mercer’s defensive unit has looked sharp in the early stages of preseason camp, after returning all 11 starters from a group that ranked 12th in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in rushing defense a year ago. Mercerbears.com caught up with defensive coordinator Mike Kolakowski as well as defensive back Alex Avant and linebacker Devin Davidson after today’s practices to discuss the Bears’ defense.



Defensive Coordinator Mike Kolakowski


On his thoughts on Mercer’s defense after the first week of camp:
“I have been very pleased with our guys on defense, they have really concentrated, taken coaching really well and worked hard together. We have thrown a lot of stuff at them, we put our whole package in place in about six days. That’s a lot. Our older guys are picking it on up, but what is really impressive is our true freshman. Those guys have come in here and are picking up some things and it is been very positive.


On being able to evaluate the entire unit once full pads come on:
“When you are in helmets it is easy, when you’re have uppers on it is easy. but when you have the full gear and the bullets are flying around, people are chopping you and everything is going real fast. For the first couple days, I’ve been really happy with our defense. We didn’t miss as many tackles as we have in the past so we are becoming a better tackling defense which is a very positive sign to the coaching staff.


On returning all 11 starters from last season’s defense:
“It is invaluable, there are a lot of guys that played a bunch of snaps last year. When we open up with Reinhardt, we all aren’t going to be wide-eyed and not knowing what is going on. They’ll know what to expect, they’ve been in the game before. We just need to make sure we are gap-sound and running to the football.”



Defensive Back Alex Avant

On the wealth of experience returning on defense:
“We return a lot of people, which is one of the best things about being so young last season. For that reason, myself and the rest of the defense expect big things. We just want to do the best that we can, do great in the SoCon and make some noise.”


On what he hopes to see from the defense prior to Saturday’s scrimmage:
“Heading into Saturday’s scrimmage, we are trying to cut down on the missed assignments and play without mental errors. One big thing that Coach K is stressing is hustling to the football. We want 11 guys to the football, so that is something we are hoping to see on Saturday.”



Linebacker Devin Davidson

On his thoughts on Tuesday's practice:
“Today is our first two-a-day and the both sessions went pretty well. We came out and played good for hot it is in our first hot-weather practice of camp. We just need to get inside and rested up for another day of action tomorrow.”


On the importance of returning all four starting linebackers from 2013:
“We have great chemistry with all of us returning from last season. We can make calls and shorten up our turns, so we can play a lot faster. That communication has been key, helping us react faster as a defense.”


Tickets for Reinhardt Game Still on Sale
Single-game football tickets for Mercer University’s 2014 season opener against Reinhardt went on sale Monday morning and a limited number of tickets are still remaining. Fans can purchase tickets online at tickets.mercer.edu or by calling the Mercer Ticket Office at (478) 301-5470.

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