Veteran college football Coach John Thompson has seen just about every situation during his coaching career, nothing really surprises him, including a great surprise for the Arkansas State team he is leading into their second consecutive GoDaddy.com Bowl game on Sunday January 6th.
Thompson, the interim head football coach and current and former defensive coordinator at Arkansas State, welcomed back the ASU football team back to Jonesboro Friday night after an eight day layoff for the holidays.
It's often when a team returns back after a layoff for players to be late in returning, especially due to the adverse weather conditions, but that wasn't the case for Arkansas State Friday evening.
"Everyone is back and accounted for at today's practice," Thompson told AStateNation.com. "It's a little surprising for a team to all be back on time, but not for this group of young men. This is how they handle their business, this is the way they have carried themselves all season long."
Thompson realized that his team might encounter a few logistical issues, especially since Mother Nature dumped over seven inches of snow in Jonesboro on Christmas night.
"Randy Knowles and his crew did a tremendous job getting our stadium floor ready to practice on tonight," Thompson explained. "It allowed us to go through a very high intensity one and a half hour practice tonight at Liberty Bank Stadium. It was a complete team effort by everyone."
According to Thompson today was the day for this Red Wolf Football team to flip the switch and begin complete focus on nationally ranked No. 25 Kent State.
"We were very tuned in and very focused," Thompson said. "We come in and flip the switch to Kent State, our guys were very focused and intent on listening and learning about our next task. When we put on the cut ups of Kent State, our guys were very focused and paying attention to every detail."
Thompson described Arkansas State's first practice back in eight days to very physical and fundamentally sound.
"We got some really good work in," Thompson said. "It's very encouraging to our coaching staff how this team responded and how focused they were on preparing for the bowl game."
The cold weather conditions and misting sleet didn't deter from the Red Wolves effort.
"There was a little snow dust on the stadium floor and it was a little cold," Thompson said. "It really didn't affect anyone, especially their effort out on the field. I told the group this is what you should expect when practicing in late December. When you are practicing this time of year, it's a good thing. It's a product of their hard work this season."
Thompson feels his team is pretty healthy going into the GoDaddy.com Bowl in eight days.
"We are in good shape really from a health standpoint," Thompson said. "Frankie Jackson was out there bouncing around today, he looks like he will be ready to go."
It appears that defensive lineman Darius Dunaway will be the only Red Wolf for sure at this point that will miss the bowl game, due to an injury prior to the holidays.
Arkansas State will return to the practice field Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., all practices are open to the AStateNation fan base and media.
Stay tuned for daily practice reports, feature stories and video interviews from AStateNation.com.
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