TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indiana State wrapped up the first week of preseason practice on Saturday evening with a mini-scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. The mini-scrimmage was the second practice of the day for the team, and its second of five two-a-day workouts leading up to the season opener on September 3 at Penn State.
The Sycamore defense set the tone early in the workouts, forcing senior quarterback Ronnie Fouch to scramble all over the field as they really put the pressure on the Sycamore signal caller and the offensive line.
The offense answered the call after the initial defensive onslaught to control the remainder of the workout after the strong defensive start.
The weather continues to be cool in the Wabash Valley as all eight practices have been conducted with the temperature under the 90 degree mark, a break for the team and athletic training staff considering that the mercury topped 90 degrees and the heat index was over 100 for much of the previous 30 days before the start of camp.
One newcomer that has seen a tremendous amount of time on the field is sophomore wide receiver Donald Spencer, a transfer from Michigan State. Spencer has already worked his way into the main rotation of targets for Sycamore quarterbacks with his steady play.
On the defensive side of the football, newcomer Zakee Bashir, a transfer from Marshall has been a key addition in the first eight days. Bashir is strong and has added another speedy stopper to a Sycamore defense that already ranked in the top half of the Missouri Valley Football Conference last season.
On special teams, freshman kicker Tanner Fritschle has wowed observers and the coaching staff with his strong leg, especially on kickoffs. Fritschle is extremely consistent is putting the ball deep in the end zone and will make it very difficult for the opposition to begin any drives after kickoffs outside of their own 20-yard line.
The Sycamore tight ends are one of the deepest areas on the team again this season. Alex Jones returns for his senior season after being named All-MVFC last year and is a preseason selection again this season. Behind Jones is veteran Michael Mardis, a native of Terre Haute, who is a steady threat to make receptions when he is the contest.
Behind those two is senior transfer Chris Izbicki, who comes to the Sycamores from Washington, where he was a teammate of Fouch. Izbikci enjoyed a stellar four years with the Huskies and took advantage of a new rule which allows players who graduate to transfer and graduate to a different school for their fifth season of eligibility to get a jump start on graduate studies. Izbicki has starred for Washington at the highest levels in the Pac-12 and will be a serious threat at the tight end position this season for the Sycamores.
Also adding depth at the position this season will be freshman Logan Buske, who was a star for Terre Haute South for the past four seasons. Buske has a great change to learn the position in earnest at the collegiate level this season from three talented tight ends also on the roster.
The Sycamores get back after it on the field this week and will hold the annual Blue/White scrimmage on August 20 at Noon (ET) inside Memorial Stadium. The public is always invited out to take in Sycamore practice.