JONESBORO, Ark — The Arkansas State Red Wolves held their annual Spring Game this past weekend. The event was filled with fun for the fans and anticipation of what is to come.
Never read too much into the successes/failures of a spring game. At the end of the day, it is just a glorified practice that the fans get to watch. The play calling is at its most basic, the intensity is toned down, and the players know what to expect on either side of the ball. Scoring touchdowns or failing to get a first down in practice doesn’t amount to much in the bigger picture.
So today, we will take an alternative look at the game. Instead of covering the game itself (which was done by AStateRedWolves.com, link later in the article), let’s take a look at the event as a whole through my (amateur) photography.
Fun for the Fans
Before the game started, and before I arrived at Centennial Bank Stadium, players from the football, volleyball, and women’s soccer teams interacted with fans by signing autographs and taking pictures. The Arkansas State Sports Management Club was hosting a gear sale, where (game-worn and practice) jerseys, hats, t-shirts, cleats and more were being sold. Personally, I got a hat and a practice jersey for just $15 total. Talk about a bargain!
The main event, of course, was the actual game itself. I won’t get too much into that, as previously stated, but I did snap a few cool pictures.
All in all, the offense looked one-dimensional. There were a few short passes that turned into long touchdowns, but for the most part, the only plays that were working were Quarterback runs, whether they were called or impromptu. There were several 50/50 balls thrown deep, usually resulting in both the offense and defense failing to haul it in.
Whether it was the defense stepping up or the offense failing to impress is yet to be known, and is one of the downfalls of a spring game.
Don’t read too much into it.
As fans rolled into the stadium, they could not help but notice the gaping hole that resides where the North End Zone bleachers used to sit. In case you didn’t know, the university is installing a waterfall fixture in-between the home East and West bleachers and the soon-to-be newly renovated end zone bleachers.
The project is (supposedly) on schedule to be completed before the first home game (Southeast Missouri State, Sep 1).
There was a solid turnout for the event. The weather likely helped, as it was in the mid-70s and sunny for the first time in what seems like years. Some clouds and wind rolled in toward the end of the game, but that didn’t drive any fans away. Only one side of the stadium was available for seating due to the construction, so the crowd was condensed into one area, making the photos look even better.
This game may have been the unofficial largest spring game turnout for any D1 university in the state of Arkansas. The Razorbacks recently held their spring game in Little Rock in the snow, which greatly hurt their turnout. There are no official numbers on either, so we can just assume that the Red Wolves did it better, right?
A Bank War?
One final note is just an observation I made while taking photographs of the event. First National Bank, the new owner of what was previously known as the Convocation Center (home of Arkansas State basketball, volleyball, indoor track, etc.), is constructing a new office building not far from the university. They bought the naming rights of the arena not long after Centennial Bank bought the naming rights to the football stadium. Where is this new building located, exactly? Well of course, right on the horizon, perfectly in view from the home bleachers! Coincidence? You decide.
The event was everything it was supposed to be: football and fun. All wrapped up in one beautiful afternoon. The fans were excited to see both the team and the stadium renovations. The anticipation level for the 2018 Red Wolves is heating up. Fans can’t wait to see their Red Wolves take the field, myself included.
If you want to know more about the actual game, click here. Astateredwolves.com did a great job at covering the game itself, whereas I focused on the event as a whole.
Make sure to check back once the season starts for updates on the construction, as well as the best analysis of the team that the internet has to offer.
All photography by Chase Gage.