VIDEO: Ken Sparks Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman football put a bow on its fall camp with a feast of fresh watermelon at the conclusion of a third preseason scrimmage Wednesday afternoon at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
The Eagles now turn their attention toward game-week preparations for a battle with No. 7 Humboldt State on ESPN 3, Thursday, Sept. 1 at 1:30 p.m.
Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks indicated that C-N has made progress, but there's still a long way to go.
"We are certainly not where we want to be or need to be," Sparks said. "Most of the time, we've had good effort. I hope we had good effort eating watermelon, because we certainly didn't have it in the scrimmage. We have to become more polished. We're in the urgency stage and need to cover all the little things that we're not doing very well."
Part of Sparks urgency comes from playing an exceptional Humboldt State club.
"We're getting ready to play a very good football team," Sparks said. "They will be one of the best teams to set foot on this field, especially this early in the year. We'll have to play well. I just hope we have enough time to get ourselves in a position where we can play well."
The Lumberjacks return the runner-up for last year's Harlon Hill Trophy Ja'Quan Gardner. The Ceres, Calif., native was a consensus first team All-American. He set conference records with 2,266 rushing yards, 338 carries and 2,369 all-purpose yards. Gardner led NCAA Division II in rushing yards, rushing yards per game and rushing touchdowns en route to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year award.
The Eagles were picked second in the South Atlantic Conference's preseason poll and had a league-best 12 preseason all-conference selections.