News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 13, 2013

Sanford gets 2nd look at Sycamores

First-year coach sees how players react in game situations

Todd Golden
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — In the immediate aftermath of a practice, game, or in Friday’s case for Indiana State, a scrimmage, most football coaches defer to the film to paint a true picture of what was and wasn’t done.

ISU coach Mike Sanford is no different. With the flurry of activity on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to get a true evaluation of anything watching it live.

So what do coaches look at when they’re observing the action without benefit of rewind, fast-forward and a pause button?

Sanford offered insight on what he looked for in Friday’s second scrimmage of spring practice, which came much closer to approximating game situations than last Friday’s more informal first scrimmage did.

“Out here on the field, you get a good feel for how guys are going to act in the heat of the battle and how they’re affected by success or failure,” Sanford said.

“How you react to adversity or success is a great predictor on how a guy is going to perform under pressure. You can see a lot of that out here in live situations. That’s what I’m watching closely,” he added.

One of the players who made an impression — and who has had to overcome some adversity of his own — is running back George Cheeseborough.

The Indianapolis native has been held back by injuries in his first three seasons at ISU, but he was energized on Friday. He hit holes with verve, and once through the hole, did a good job avoiding would-be tacklers.

“I’m just taking the motto of compete. I’m competing everyday. We’re all brothers out here, but at the end of the day, we’re all fighting for a spot. Competition only makes the offense and defense better,” Cheeseborough said.

He drew ooh’s and aah’s from his teammates when he de-cleated teammate George Stone on a block in the middle of the line.

“This is my healthiest year here so far. I’m almost injury-free and feeling good about myself. I took the weight room really serious in the offseason. Kudos to the offensive line. They do the hard part, I do the easy part and run through the holes,” Cheeseborough said.

“We got a lot of plays in, which was good. We had some guys taking 60-70 plays which was very much like a normal game situation,” Sanford said. “It was a very good day and we got a lot accomplished.”

Unlike last Friday’s scrimmage, ISU did not escape injury-free. Offensive lineman Evan Goebel was helped off the field with a knee injury.

“Evan got dinged up in his knee. He had a situation about a week-and-a-half or so ago, but this was his other knee. We’ll see how that plays out, but we are thin in the offensive line, and yes, that is an issue,” said Sanford, who said his first indication was that the injury wasn’t severe.

ISU has one more week of practice left before its Spring Game at 3 p.m. next Saturday at Memorial Stadium.