UCF Knights Conduct Spring Drills In Full Pads, Spring Game Set For April 22
By Andy Seeley, UCF Sports // March 29, 2017
ABOVE VIDEO: The Knights went full pads, full contact for the first time since December Monday. It was the fourth practice of the spring for UCF. The annual Spring Game is set for April 22 at 6:30 p.m.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA (UCF Knights) – For the first time since preparation’s for the Cure Bowl this past December, the UCF football team donned full pads Monday.
Thanks to solid conditioning throughout the winter, many of the Knights said they didn’t miss a beat after going more than three months without putting on full pads.
“It felt pretty good,” junior defensive back Kyle Gibson said. “It really didn’t seem like too much of a difference from Friday, other than just getting used to the heat. It felt good.”
Gibson said he enjoyed getting to get back on the field and do some hitting.
Gibson likely spent some time in contact drills Monday with junior wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith, who said he enjoyed getting back into full football gear as well.
“I felt like it was still natural, even though it’s been since December,” Smith said.
As would be expected, blocking drills picked up a great deal of intensity Monday. Blocking will be an area of focus for the wide receiver position this spring. Smith said he enjoyed that part of the workout Monday.
“Now, we can get our facemasks on the guys and really get ahold of them,” he said. “I like it better with pads.”
Smith leads a talented group of wide receivers returning to the Knights for 2017. Meanwhile, the teammates Smith and the other receivers compete with most in practice are looking to replace four starters from last season. Defensive backs Shaquill Griffin, D.J. Killings, Drico Johnson and T.J. Mutcherson all exhausted their eligibility in 2017.
Both Smith and Gibson agree the offense has had a bit of an edge early in the spring. Gibson the secondary is one of the least experienced units on the team. But he says it’s time for him and some of his buddies to step up and take advantage of the opportunity they have in front of them.
“Right now, we’ve got a young group,” Gibson said. “We’re all just trying to learn and get on board together. Everybody’s trying to improve. We’ve started a little slow. It was good last year, playing behind and learning from those guys, seeing how they prepare for the games. It’s kind of exciting. Since being here, I’ve always been a younger guy. Me, Tre Neal and Rashard Causey all came in together, so it’s time to lead the group of guys that we have. It’s time to take our next steps.”
The very next steps on the practice field for the Knights will come Wednesday morning.
To see/hear more of what the Knights had to say after practice on Monday, click the video player above.