NAU set to open spring practice

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Northern Arizona football team is set to open springs practice on Tuesday with the first of 15 scheduled sessions in preparation for the 2014 season.

Coming off an FCS playoff appearance, the Lumberjacks are entering their 17th season under head coach Jerome Souers and the 100th season in program history.

NAU expects to return 278 combined starts while losing a total of 281 due to graduation and early departures. Linebacker Austin Hasquet and offensive lineman Roy Garcia are the most experienced returners with 23 starts apiece. Overall, the Lumberjacks return eight starters on offense, two on defense and three on special teams.

A breakdown of the returning production is as follows:

Passing yards: 2,425 of 2,425 (100 percent); rushing yards: 407 of 1,787 (23 percent); receptions: 114 of 235 (49 percent); and all-purpose yards: 2,294 of 5,445 (42 percent).

NAU goes into spring practice with Kyren Poe and Chase Cartwright competing for the starting job at quarterback. Poe earned his first career start in last year’s season opener against Arizona and started a total of eight games while playing in 11. He completed 163 of 270 passes for 1,602 yards with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also had two rushing touchdowns. Cartwright started the final four games for the Lumberjacks and appeared in six. He completed 70 of 111 passes for 753 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Lumberjacks also have Jordan Perry and Pete Denham for added depth at the quarterback position.

R.J. Rickert is the lone returning All-American on the NAU spring roster. The native of Gilbert, Ariz., was one of three Lumberjacks named to the College Sports Madness All-American team last season.

Spring practice concludes with the annual spring game at Lumberjack Stadium on April 26 at 2 p.m.