Story by Steve Schaack-ISU Sports Information
POCATELLO, Idaho- After seven practices and one scrimmage one thing has stood out to coach Mike Kramer and that is Justin Arias, Luke Austin and Cameron Richmond have established themselves as leaders of the 2013 Bengal football team.
"It is obvious that Justin Arias is going to be one of the premier players in this conference," Kramer said on Tuesday afternoon after practice seven. "Cam Richmond and Luke Austin give us extremely veteran leadership and I bet no other team in this conference has as many combined catches as those two guys. They make the world of difference."
Richmond and Austin combined to catch 113 passes for 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012.
The Bengals had a controlled 38 play situational scrimmage during Tuesday's practice.
"It was very controlled and lethargic in terms of hitting but efficient in terms of young guys being able to play for the first time at full speed," Kramer said on the scrimmage.
There were three touchdowns scored in the scrimmage Riley Sessions threw two touchdown passes, one to Braeden Mitchell and another to Josh Cook. Xavier Finney also scored on a three-yard touchdown run.
Kramer added that offensively during the scrimmage that the pass protection, "sagged a little bit and we allowed too much penetration. The entire day was spent in the red zone and in the red zone we cannot give up sacks or allow penetration. It is something we have to take a look at."
On the play of the defense in the scrimmage Kramer said, "We played a little more on top of the offense then we have shown to date."
Overall, after seven practices, Kramer said that the defensive front is still a work in progress and that the linebacker and secondary positions is a big carousel of, "who is playing and who is playing well.
Kramer singled out Cameron Gupton and Jon Davidson has the two guys who have played every day in camp.
"Those guys have the test of fire and I like what they are doing," Kramer said. "We just need to solidify what more guys are doing on defense."
On offense, Kramer said that he likes the progress the offensive front is making and feels like that unit is starting to come together. He added that he hopes to continue to see improved play from Aaron Prier and Xavier Finney at running back.
"They have not yet played with the type of toughness and physical stamina that we need to have at running back," Kramer said.
Idaho State opens the 2013 season on Sept. 7 vs. Dixie State at 3 p.m. in Holt Arena. Tickets can be purchased by logging onto isubengals.com, calling 208-282-FANS or by visiting the Idaho State Ticket Office at Holt Arena.