MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Arkansas State football team used its first full day in Montgomery to get some work done and have some fun, holding a morning practice Wednesday at Huntingdon College’s W. James Samford Jr. Stadium before participating in a Camellia Bowl dinner and bowling event that evening at Bama Lanes.
The Red Wolves held their first practice since arriving in Montgomery yesterday evening, but practiced the four previous days in Jonesboro for their game Saturday at the Cramton Bowl against Middle Tennessee. A-State took the field this morning at 11 a.m., going through some conditioning work and game prep.
“We kind of use this as a recovery day, and we’ve taken that approach all four years,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “The first day getting to the bowl site, there’s always a lot going on and a long day, along with being our latest curfew of the week. We’ve always come in and done some conditioning work, change-of-direction, some throwing and catching, and a little bit of jog through.
“Tomorrow, we will get back to basic work, put the pads on and get back to what we consider a normal Thursday, Friday, Saturday cycle. We’ve had five practices coming into this with good X’s and O’s work, so today was just about getting a good sweat in and conditioning work in so they can enjoy a little bit of free time today.”
The players received their team bowl gifts last night after arriving and tonight took part in the first official Camellia Bowl event for the players – a fun night of bowling, fellowship, food, music and more at Bama Lanes.
“It’s a great opportunity and we’re thankful to be here,” said A-State senior defensive end and back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Ja’Von Rolland-Jones about the Camellia Bowl. “We have a lot of guys from Alabama, so they’re excited, and our fans travel well, so it will be a good atmosphere. I’m looking forward to everything we’ve got scheduled down here because I’ve never been here.”
The Red Wolves will participate in two more Camellia Bowl activities tomorrow as well, including a Rosa Parks Museum tour at 2 p.m. and a BBQ dinner at the Union Station Train Shed at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s been good, weather has been great, the people have been great and the team has enjoyed getting to see Montgomery,” said Anderson. “Most of these guys haven’t been here, and we also have a handful from around the area, so a lot of their family is in town. They’re having a good time already and had an entertaining night the bowling event. However, we will start reining it in tomorrow morning and get ready for the game.”
While Arkansas State is 5-9 all-time versus Middle Tennessee, the Red Wolves have won the last three meetings in the series that dates back to 1948. Middle Tennessee won the first two games in the series in 1948 and 1949, and the two teams didn’t meet again until 2001 as Sun Belt foes. They played every year from 2001-12 as SBC opponents before the Blue Raiders joined Conference USA in 2013. The last nine games have been decided by at least 17 points.
Prior to their scheduled bowl events tomorrow, the Red Wolves will hold a morning practice on the Huntingdon College campus. A-State’s final practice on Friday will be held at the Cramton Bowl.