NAU spring football practice report

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The NAU football team is past the halfway point of its spring season, as it has two weeks left before the spring game on April 26.

The Lumberjacks will have one last scrimmage this Saturday, before next week’s Blue-Gold Game. NAU has been plagued by unexpected injuries that have sidelined a few of its student-athletes, but the Lumberjacks have toughed it out to put forth some solid performances on the practice field.

"The main thing is to continue to progress forward," offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. "We have had some great moments and we are light years ahead of where we were last year. At times we tend to step backward and not forward, so we have to continue to put the pressure on ourselves and work hard."

The offense has played well while incorporating more of a balance of the run and pass game. NAU will welcome its newcomers in the fall to fill some of the voids on the offensive line, but until then, the Lumberjacks have managed with the limited number of healthy players they have.

"I feel like the offensive line has played pretty well up to this point," said Scangarello. "They’re gutting it out, but it’s a great experience for someone like Tyler Shank. He gets a lot of work. It’s tough, but that experience will pay off next season when he’s on the field, so that’s the bonus."

Defensive coordinator Andy Thompson is pleased with the growth that the defense has shown since the start of camp, although the final two weeks are crucial before the end of spring ball.

"We have to continue our consistency," Thompson said. "I like the camaraderie between the offense and defense and how much of a team unity we have. The defense is getting better, because our offense is getting better. They’ve been giving us a lot of tough looks, and that’s what we need. We just have to continue moving in the right direction as a team."