JONESBORO — Arkansas State is ready to welcome fans on the final day of spring football.
After working behind closed gates or doors for 14 practices, the Red Wolves will open up for spectators when they conduct Saturday’s Pack Day Spring Game at Centennial Bank Stadium. The starting time is set for 2 p.m.
“Obviously this community means so much to our football program and they’ve been very, very supportive,” first-year head coach Butch Jones said. “It’s unfortunate there’s things with COVID restrictions we’ve had to do in not having the practices open and all that. It’s a community event, it’s Jonesboro’s team.
“To have our gates open and to be able to have our fans come see us, it’s kind of a first impression of our football team. I’m excited for our players to be able to be a part of it and I’m excited for our fans as well.”
Jones said he expects a highly competitive game. ASU’s first-string offense and second-team defense will be on one team, the first-string defense and second-team offense on the other.
The team’s leadership group will draft everyone in the program to be on one side or the other, so everyone in the organization will have a stake in the game, Jones said.
“It’s another opportunity to compete, to get in front of our great fan base, kind of experience Jonesboro at its finest on a great Saturday afternoon,” Jones said. “You find out so much in these games because players react a little bit different when there’s people in the stands. You can’t hide, so to speak. I’m excited and I know they’re looking forward to it as well.”
Offensive guard Andre Harris seconded that thought.
“We’re pretty excited to be able to showcase for the fans. Everything has been kind of closed off, so this will be the first opportunity for people to be able to see what the new Arkansas State is going to look like,” Harris said. “I’m pretty excited to be able to show everybody the improvements we’ve made and just everything that’s changed, the effort we’re going to give out there, just everything.”
ASU returns six offensive starters and nine defensive starters from last year’s team that finished 4-7. The Red Wolves have installed a new defensive scheme under new coordinator Rob Harley and have made offensive adjustments as well.
The team’s 2020 Larry Lacewell MVP Award winner will be announced during the game. Senior offensive lineman Ivory Scott, the 2020 winner of the Withrow Award, will also be recognized.
There is no charge for admission and concessions will be available on the west concourse. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. and the team is scheduled to take the field at 1 p.m. ASU is encouraging fans to wear masks and practice social distancing.