The 2:30-long combined practice and scrimmage on a chilly night in Turpin Stadium closed the first half of the Demons' first spring practice under new head coach Jay Thomas. NSU takes spring break next week and will resume practice April 9, with another scrimmage on April 13 and the 24th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game on Saturday, April 20.
Wednesday night, the Demons ran 28 plays with live tackling, another 32 with "thud" tackling halting action before players went to the ground, and 28 more snaps in 7-on-7 passing situations. Chiasson, a sophomore, threw for 161 yards on 13-of-21 aim but was intercepted three times. Hazlewood, a redshirt freshman, went 19-of-30 for 137 yards and was picked off once.
The touchdown passes came in the live tackling portion. On the first one, Toussant took a short sideline route and was sprung down the left sideline by a block from Jovhan Jilbert. On the next snap, he ran a deep corner route and hauled in a nicely-thrown Chiasson pass. Toussant had four receptions for 100 yards to lead 17 players who caught passes.
Adam Jones had a 41-yard interception runback for a touchdown in the live competition while Chris Cryer, Bert White and Russell Owens also picked off passes in the competitive segments of practice.
The Demons ran off their combined 60 live and "thud" snaps in 44 minutes, displaying a brisk pace under new offensive coordinator Robby Brown, who steered Valdosta State's offense last year in a Division II national championship season.
"Across the board, we got better. I saw a lot of people flying around the football, good things on both sides," said Thomas. "We had some good explosive runs, some good balls being thrown, but we have to be more consistent in what we're doing, and in catching the football. It was the first time we've done this live, and under the lights, and on a chilly night, we were probably a little too keyed up at times to relax and make the play.
"There was a lot of energy. I saw the defense making some plays, and there were some good pops out there," he said. "We are banged up in the offensive line and so we scaled back the number of live plays, but we got good work in."
The biggest hit of the night was delivered by junior tight end Chris Dever, who slammed into a tackler and knocked him to the ground to pick up a few more yards on a nine-yard reception late in the session.
Two other quarterbacks, junior Don Canyon and sophomore Keenon Gibson, sat out with relatively minor injuries.