Jacksonville State OL, DBs under the microscope

Apr 10, 2016 - 2:21 AM (STATS) - Jacksonville State coach John Grass kept a close eye on the offensive linemen and defensive backs when the Gamecocks wrapped up spring practices with their annual J-Day game Saturday at Burgess-Snow Field.

The two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference champions are coming off a 13-2 season in which they reached the FCS national championship game for the first time.

The secondary lost four starters and the offensive line two. But in the spring game, the defensive backs provided excellent coverage to keep the quarterbacks on the move, and the offensive linemen opened holes for redshirt freshman Cedric Miller to rush for two touchdowns.

No official stats were kept in the game.

"(Offensive line)-wise, I think we got a whole lot better this spring with the guys we have returning," Grass said. "(Defensive back)-wise, when you lose four out of five starters, you come into the spring saying, 'OK, we are athletic back there, but we have to get some experience back there.'

"I really think those guys all did really well today and throughout the entire spring."

Eli Jenkins, the STATS FCS All-America first-team quarterback, sat out spring practices as he continued to recover from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

After losing a number of key players from last year's team, the Gamecocks added four FBS transfers in tight ends Jonathan Curry (Purdue) and B.J. Hammond (Mississippi State), cornerback Pat Porter (Washington State) and athlete Tramel Terry (Georgia).

The Gamecocks will open the season when they host North Alabama on Sept. 1.

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