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Spring practice notes: Evans avoids major injury

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Thumbnail image for Hartline.jpgWell I'm back in the saddle after a nice little four-day break. The batteries are recharged and should be ready to roll for the rest of the athletics season. In the midst of doing some interviews today, so it might take a day for the stories to catch back up.

I stopped by spring football practice this morning and will have a feature on DeQuin Evans and the defensive line later today. In the meantime, just quickly wanted to go over a few notes from this morning.

- Evans suffered a scary knee injury in practice over the weekend when a player rolled into his right knee, but head coach Joker Phillips confirmed today that the injury was not as serious as some initially thought. Evans sustained a right knee sprain and is expected to miss a few days of practice. Phillips called the Cats "lucky" to still have Evans because he's such a leader, and defensive line coach David Turner joked that he almost quit when Evans went down.

- Phillips insists there has been no separation at the quarterback position - the three players vying for the starting position will be available to the media for the first time Saturday - but veteran Mike Hartline took the majority of the snaps with the first team Monday. I wouldn't look too much into at this point, but the quarterbacks all looked considerably better than they did a week ago, Phillips said.

- A couple of the interceptions the QBs have thrown in practice really won't be picks during the games, Phillips said, because a lot of them have come on offsides penalties. Phillips said he's encouraging his quarterbacks to take a chance when they draw the defense offsides because it's a free five yards if they don't complete the pass or throw an interception.

- Phillips continues to be pleased with the new energy. The enthusiasm and effort have been great in the first week of practice. The next step, Phillips said, is completing assignments.

- Wide receivers Aaron Boyd and E.J. Fields, both of whom did not play last season, are a little behind the first unit and a half, Phillips said. The first-year coach called it an important spring for those guys.

- Chandler Burden's transition from the defensive line to the offensive line has been smooth so far. Phillips believes he can make an immediate impact at left tackle, otherwise he wouldn't have switched the likely starter. Phillips called him big, strong and athletic, "exactly what you're looking for at offensive tackle."

- There have been slight adjustments with two new line coaches (Turner on the D-line and Mike Summers on the O-line), Phillips said. The schemes remain basically the same, but the terminology is different with the new coaches in terms of technique.  

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