Injuries give new Hound players opportunity

Freedom Newspapers

BLACKWATER DRAW — Several veterans are nursing injuries during Eastern New Mexico University’s spring football drills, but coach Bud Elliott and his staff aren’t too concerned.
It just gives them more opportunity to look at less experienced players.
The Greyhounds, who have been practicing for three weeks, had an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning at Greyhound Stadium, lasting roughly two hours. Originally scheduled for Sunday, the game was moved up to allow players to get an early start this week’s spring break.
ENMU, with just over 80 players currently working out, resumes practice next week, capped by the annual Green-and-Silver game at 2 p.m. on April 4 at the stadium.
Linebacker Jordan Lambert (concussion), fullback Sukora Cooper (concussion), split end Derrick Hunter (torn ligaments) and guard Robert Ocuna (hamstring) are currently out due to injury. Elliott said all except Lambert, who has missed the entire spring session, may be back for the final week.
As a result, younger players are getting a few more reps in practice.
“We’ve got some youngsters who are beginning to make progress, and we’re excited about that,” Elliott said Sunday. “We were really pleased (with Saturday’s scrimmage); the offense didn’t have a turnover. Defensively, we’re adding some schemes that I think will give us a chance to play better pass defense.”
Elliott said the scrimmage consisted of slightly more than 80 plays. The team also worked on some live punt, punt return and kickoff return specialties.
The Hounds have some younger defensive linemen making strides, Elliott said, adding that there should be good competition at the running back and quarterback positions.
Returning starter Steve Hinson, who will be a senior, has done well in the spring at QB, Elliott said. Hinson is getting a battle from redshirt freshman Michael Benton, who went 29-1 as a starter in leading Everman to back-to-back Texas Class 3A state championships.
Benton also played point guard on the Bulldogs’ state champion basketball team as a senior, Elliott said.
The team has been practicing on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the spring to accommodate several pre-med students on the squad who have afternoon classes, Elliott said.