Back on the field: Trojans begin spring practice

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

There was a different look and feel when the Troy Trojans hit the practice field for the first day of spring practice on Tuesday afternoon.

After a long buildup, the Chip Lindsey era officially got underway in the first of 15 practices on the campus of Troy University.

“I think (the players) were excited,” Lindsey said. “You get so much winter conditioning. I think they are ready to get on the field and practice football. I think they attacked the day pretty good. Learning new things and when things start moving fast-pace, sometimes it can be hard to focus. I thought our guys did a good job at trying to compete every day.”

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The Trojans spent day one wearing helmets, jerseys and shirts. Along with some of the expected mistakes, the new Trojan head coach was pleased with what he saw out his players.

“I was really pleased with the energy and the attitude,” Lindsey said. “Body language was really good, that is something that we are really stressing. We really liked how our guys came out and competed. We made a lot of mistakes, but that was pretty much expected. We just needed our guys to really get after it and have fun practicing.”

In his first day at practice as a head coach, Lindsey found himself regularly looking around and taking it all in.

“We have a beautiful place here to practice,” Lindsey said. “For me, at times I just wanted to take it all in and see where everybody was and how things were going.”

There was an adjustment period for everyone involved on Tuesday. It was a different atmosphere, one that featured a lot of teaching and watching by both players and coaches.

“I thought our coaches did a nice job moving our guys around,” Lindsey said. “We do some things differently than they have in the past. There was an adjustment period, but I think as we go, we will get more and more comfortable.”

Injuries have played a factor in previous spring practices for the Trojans. This spring however, the Trojans had just a handful of players wearing either the no-contact or limited-contact jerseys.

“We have some guys banged up that we have to get healthy, but some of the guys that had surgeries in the offseason, we may not get back; but overall I thought our guys were healthy,” Lindsey said. “I thought our guys made it through practice OK.”

One player that is coming off an injury a season ago is quarterback Kaleb Barker. Barker missed the second half of last season after injuring his knee. Barker practiced for the first time on Tuesday.

“It feels wonderful,” Barker said. “I couldn’t ask for much else. It’s a pretty emotional time. I am very thankful for the coaches and players that stood by me during that time. I can’t really describe, that’s how good it feels. To get back out here is pretty incredible.”

Barker, who practiced and threw in many of the drills on Tuesday, mentioned he is still limited and won’t participate in team drills this spring.

“I’m not going to do spring stuff throughout the spring. I am doing everything else,” Barker said. “It’s not like I can’t do team stuff – it’s a personal preference, but it’s going really well.”

Barker returned to the field along with other quarterbacks, Sawyer Smith, Jacob Free, Gunnar Watson, among others on Tuesday.

“I think you can tell off the bat that Sawyer and Kaleb both have played,” Lindsey said. “They have that experience. I thought our five that we put in did some good things at times. We will evaluate the film and see from there.”

The Trojans will have the opportunity to practice 14 more times leading up to the annual T-Day game on Saturday, April 20.