Coaches pleased with team’s progress

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By Robert Alan Richardson sports writer

The 2015 version of Morgan County football spring practice was on display with a final scrimmage during the final spring practice day last Friday. Head football coach, Bill Malone, said that there are still some questions to be answered coming out of spring practice, but that he was satisfied with the team’s improvement. According to Malone, the defense has filled in some of the gaps and was impressive in last Friday’s scrimmage. “I couldn’t be happier with our defense by the way they reacted to formations, motion, and plays that Coach Crowley put together to run against them. I told him that I was afraid we had practiced too slowly and wondered where we were on our timeline. He told me we were in good shape and he proved that to me last Friday.” Malone went on to say the he felt good about where the defense is and tickled about how the offensive and defensive lines are playing. “If we continue to get better, it’s going to be difficult for folks to lean on us for four quarters. We like that.” The quarterback situation has cleared up some, but is still up in the air as to who the starter will be. The Dogs will be solid in the backfield this season with a number of players vying for playing time. Malone hit on this point as well as the fact that the defensive ends and linebacker spots are showing improvement. “We found depth in the backfield that we probably haven’t had since 2012 and there is no longer a worry or concern about the ends and linebackers. We’re now at a point where we think we’ve got a couple of kids that can play those spots and some can even play both. That’s a good problem to have right now.”

The coaching staff agrees that the question marks will be answered during summer workouts and 7-on-7 competitions with other schools in the area. The summer schedule will have players arriving at 7 a.m. for weight room workouts, conditioning, and practice followed by breakfast to conclude at 9:30. Here are Malone’s final thoughts on the spring, “It turned out to be a pretty good spring for us and I saw a little more energy this year compared to past years. We had a number of college football coaches watching practices due to the fact that we have a number of players that are being recruited. Maybe that was one reason we had more get-up-and-go about us, but I really don’t know. Our numbers are small and that’s something we’ll have to work on this summer, but the ones we had out there are excited about competing this fall and hopefully winning a bunch of games. It’s a busy summer for all our players with jobs and other sports practices, but we encourage all our guys to play every sport they can possibly play. This will only help them as athletes.” Offensive coordinator, John Robbins, gave his thoughts about the two weeks of practice, “We got a lot of quality work in offensively this spring. I can say without hesitation that we’ve accomplished our number one goal of re-establishing our running game. Our plan is to rely heavily on the experience and strength of our offensive line, which now has several legitimate threats running behind them. This group seems to have a better handle on our tempo and terminology than any unit we’ve had in a while.”

Defensive coordinator, Allen Crowley, wrapped things up, “Tackles Keandra Williams and Dakoda Ruby as well as defensive ends MJ Webb and Zach Howe have shown that they can anchor the front. The linebacking corps of Quin Williams, Malik Chapman, Case Segrest, Jodie McAlister, and Tremond Moore is getting more comfortable with assignments and run fits each practice. The biggest improvement I’ve seen this spring has been the play of the secondary, led by Trey Chapman, Tyler Benford, and McLane Zant. Richard Brooks, Quincey Jones and Trey Davis have also made good progress and added some much-needed depth. The biggest thing we need to do as we move through summer and fall practices is to find some more depth and get better in our schemes.”

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