Adair shows stuff as feature back in final spring scrimmage
Zach Adair made sure he got a good night’s sleep Friday, and there was no doubt he was going to sleep well Saturday night. A long nap today isn’t out of the question.
“I’m tired,” the redshirt freshman tailback from Palisade said Saturday after getting the majority of snaps during Mesa State’s final scrimmage of spring practice at Bergman Field.
Because of injuries to Joey Applehans (broken ankle last fall) and J.R. Hamm (sprained knee and ankle this spring), Adair was the featured back, especially after junior Will Halboth injured his right elbow.
Halboth made a nice run early in the scrimmage, but as he was being tackled, he was hit in the back of the arm, buckling his elbow.
“I’m not a doctor, but it looked dislocated to me,” coach Joe Ramunno said. After several minutes on the field with the medical staff, Halboth’s right arm was splinted, and he was in a sling after the scrimmage.
The Mavericks also lined up senior fullback Kris Means as a running back, and in one series, he was the tailback with redshirt freshman David Rhodes, out of Olathe High School, at fullback, giving them a jumbo package look, and both fullbacks ran the ball well.
One week after the offense ruled in a scrimmage, the defense set the tone Saturday.
“The defense looked really good,” Ramunno said. “They flew around and played hard. I was really proud of them. (Senior defensive lineman) Tony Kelly in the middle dominated things. He’s a great player.”
The defense put plenty of pressure on all three Mesa State quarterbacks, sophomores Robert Felberg and Mike Mankoff and redshirt freshman Jason Haferman, who showed he’s going to push for playing time in the fall.
“It’s so good to have that competition,” Ramunno said. “One of them will start stepping forward. We’ll know a little more after (watching the film), but we saw some good things.”
Haferman threw a nice deep completion to redshirt freshman Austin Rodriguez in the first half, then came back and hit Brennan Belloni, another redshirt freshman, for a touchdown in the corner.
Several of the older players missed spring drills because they only have one semester of eligibility remaining, saving that semester for the fall season.
The offense looked especially sharp in short-yardage situations, with Mankoff getting the handle on a bobbled snap and scoring, Haferman throwing a roll-out touchdown pass, Felberg hooking up with tight end Tyler Loomis, Adair cutting back for a score, Means bulling his way up the middle and Haferman scoring on an option keeper.
“The defense presented a little more this week,” Ramunno said. “We had more (offensive) success last week. We had a lot of good things happen, but we’ve got a lot to work on.”
Adair learned plenty in his first round of spring football.
“Spring ball is fun,” he said. “(I wanted to) just get used to the playbook and I thought this spring I was able to get it down a lot.”
Mesa’s spring practice was a little earlier than usual, but it will allow the players to have a solid month of training with strength and conditioning coach Daniel Linsacum before classes are out in early May.
“I really felt like it was a good spring. We had sun every day; we had a couple of cold ones early, but we were blessed with the weather, and this (artificial) surface helps because you can go. If you get too much slop it’s hard to go on grass,” Ramunno said.
“We got a lot of experience with a lot of guys, a lot of young players.”