New Hampshire Football Report

UNH begins spring practice

Allen Lessels
UNH Insider

They were up at 5:30 or so in the morning and on Bremner Field by about 6:30.

The UNH football team got back to work on Thursday and beat the rain to open its five-week and 15-session run of spring practice. Spring football wraps up with the Blue-White game in Cowell Stadium on May 7 at noon.

UNHlogo“It’s awesome to get back out here and play some football,” said running back Dalton Crossan, who will be a senior in the fall. “We’ve been working out. We’ve been lifting. We’ve been running. But all inside, no football stuff really. It feels great to get everybody back out here running around again.”

Senior quarterback Adam Riese, who is vying for the starting quarterback job with sophomoreTrevor Knight, was another Wildcat excited to get back on the field.

“I was up at 5:30, 5:40,” Riese said. “I actually slept all right, but I was up more than I thought I would be. I feel like I was up about three times during the night. I guess just nerves and jitteriness, ready to get up and go. Overall I think I was pretty calm and ready to get back on the field.”

The Wildcats have spring ball and their optional summer workouts and then will report back to campus for fall camp in early August.

The season opener is Sept. 3 at San Diego State, an FBS team.

UNH opens its under-construction Wildcat Stadium – flooring for the stands was being lifted up and put in place on Thursday – with a home game against Holy Cross on Sept. 10.

Information on season tickets for 2016 in the new stadium – including for membership in the one-of-its-kind Service Union Credit Victory Club – is available at or by calling 603-862-4000.

Head coach Sean McDonnell is looking forward to watching Riese and Knight battle for the starting job at quarterback.

“It’s huge for me right now for me to see how they manage the football team, how they secure the football,” McDonnell said. “How they know where they’re going and doing what they’re doing. Today was a little bit hectic but there are signs of some good things. There are not going to be answers until we finally get somebody in the heat of battle and that will come in scrimmages and challenging situations in practice. Spring game will help. We’ll reevaluate after we get done with all that and then take it to the summer and figure out where we’re going.”

Receiver Kyon Taylor, who will be a senior, and Rory Donovan, a sophomore, each had nice catches on Thursday morning.

“Kyon did a nice job, and Rory,” McDonnell said. “They did what I expect them to do. These guys have played a little bit. Rory had some feel for it last year, caught a couple of deep balls last year in key games. Had a great catch against William & Mary, had a helluva catch against Richmond. I expect him to do that. KT had 30 catches in five games last year. He made some phenomenal catches. He made an unbelievable catch against Delaware. Those are the things I’m looking for from him. I’m looking for consistency from both kids. That’s what is going to be huge this spring.”

The defense also came up with interceptions during the practice.

“I think it was a combination of not catching the ball well at times and not locating the ball well at times,” McDonnell said. “We didn’t have a break on the ball to make a pick but we caught balls that hit us in the chest and that’s a good sign.”

The Wildcats practiced in helmets on Thursday and will be in helmets again for practice on Friday afternoon at 4:30. They add uppers to the equation for a practice late Sunday morning and then will be in full pads on Tuesday morning. Practices are generally held Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:40 and on Saturday mornings at about 9.

The first practice was delayed by the snowstorm earlier in the week.

“Everybody’s excited about playing,” McDonnell said “First time out since November, December, last we played. We’ve got 15 practices and we’re one down. We’ll get one tomorrow, get one Sunday and we’ll be right back on track where we belong.”

There’s much work to be done.

“It’s very important,” Crossan said. “We’ve got a lot of positions where a lot of young guys are going to need to step up, a lot of old guys that are going to need to take leadership roles now. I’m excited. I’m excited for the whole team to get better.”

Thursday was a nice first step.

“I thought it was good,” Riese said. “There were obviously some things to take away from it. First practice. Just good to be out there. Good to be playing football rather than inside and doing those type of things. Definitely there were some good things and obviously there were some things that need to be corrected and will be corrected.”


Follow Allen Lessels on Twitter: @UNHInsider.

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