August 28, 2008

Tigers Will Feature New Look in 2008

The Scotland County football team will have a new look this season. Not only have the Tigers installed a new offense, but Coach Brent Bondurant and his staff will be counting on plenty of new faces to make the debut a success.

With only eight of the 27 players out this year classified as upper class men, the squad will be counting on a youth movement to return the program to its winning ways.

That isn’t to say that the Tigers won’t be counting on big performances from its veterans.

SCR-I returns starting quarterback Kyle Shelley to lead the offense. As a sophomore, Shelley threw for 298 yards, completing 24 of 95 attempts for two touchdowns and seven interceptions.

His numbers should blossom behind a much more experienced offensive line. Providing the pass coverage will be seniors Aaron Neagle, and Bradley Hamner and junior Justin Winn, all starters last season. Joining that crew this year will be senior Chad Consbrock, junior Jordan Fulk, and sophomores Brett Thomas and Will See.

Shelley will be throwing to a pair of familiar faces in Caleb Kittle and Brandon Garnett, two of his top threats from 2007.

Kittle will have to catch some balls out of the backfield, as he will be sliding over to a slot position from his wide receiver role in 2007. He had eight receptions last year for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

Garnett will be joined at wide receiver by freshman Harley Stone to give Shelley a pair of big targets.

The ground attack will have an entirely new look this season. Gone are graduates Jeff Kice and Eric Glass, and with them more than half the team’s rushing stats from 2007.

Coach Bondurant will turn to some new faces to fill the void, while also looking to a new spread offense to help further boost the rushing game in 2008.

“We are going to feature a one-back set, that is going to come at you in a ton of different formations,” Bondurant said. “We are going to give the defense several different looks as we try to identify their weaknesses and attack.”

Sophomore Logan Brassfield will be doing plenty of that attacking. He will be the team’s “punisher”, using his power game out of the fullback spot. Brassfield will line up as the lone running back in the backfield with Shelley.

But Bondurant said Kittle and sophomore Rod Sears will share the load at running back, getting more than their fair share of carries from the slot back position.

This style of offense allows the team to set up its blocking schemes and to spread the defense while trying to pick running lanes both inside and outside the box.

“This offense should allow us to get to the outside and make some big plays, but it also benefits the linemen, as they can get better angles on their blocks to make bigger holes on the inside as well,” Bondurant stated.

The formations will also vary as far as the snap. Coach indicated Shelley will be taking snaps under the center, in the shot gun as well as in a “pistol” formation, which is a shorter snap than the shotgun. The team will be utilizing a no-huddle offense, but not as an effort to speed up the game.

Instead coaches expect the squad to use up big chunks of the play clock, in effect shortening the game.

“With just 27 kids, we think this will keep us fresh and allow us to finish games strong in the fourth quarter,” said Bondurant.

He hopes the change in philosophy will benefit the defense, which was the strength of last year’s program.

“We played pretty good defense in 2007, we just had those guys on the field way too much because we struggled on offense,” Bondurant said.

With a decreased work load, a good defense from last year could be great in 2008.

Brassfield will return to lead the team at linebacker after recording a team best 94 tackles a year ago. Kittle tied for that top spot from his defensive back position and will give the squad a stopper at the safety spot again in 2008. He had a team best three interceptions last year.

The under front scheme uses five down linemen. Hamner will return as a defensive end after leading the team last year in tackles for losses. Winn and Neagle were among the team leaders in tackles last year, giving the Tigers a talented front on defense. Consbrock, See, Fulk and Thomas all will see time in the trenches on this side of the ball as well.

Shelley will move from safety to the other linebacker slot in 2008 after recording 69 tackles last season.

Garnett had 72 tackles last year and returned an interception for a TD from the safety spot. He will return to that spot in 2008.

The corner back positions will feature two new starters. Sophomores Rod and Sabe Sears and freshman Jayston Wright will take over for Kittle and Kice at the cover positions for the defense.

State ranked Clark County is the heavy favorite to repeat as Tri-Rivers Conference Champs. The Indians return the bulk of last year’s playoff squad led by league MVP running back Javis Vineyard and quarterback Ethan Allen.

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