The Carroll football team went through its scrimmage on Saturday at Dragon Stadium, with head coach Hal Wasson and his staff wanting to get a better sense of the team’s major question marks: wide receiver and offensive line.
“There’s no doubt our offensive line is a work in progress and our wide receivers are a work in progress,” Wasson said. “But I like the toughness and the aggressiveness we have shown. We’ve got to get tougher mentally offensively. We’re so young and inexperienced.”
Wasson’s repeated use of toughness actually echoes the title of fall camp: Camp Toughness.
With younger teams, coaches have to find a way to drill it in mentally and physically to get the most out of these positions. They also need depth.
The offensive line has its demands, because Drew Jakala is really the only member who saw significant playing time in 2013. Plus, projected starting center Grant Stewart is likely going to miss the entire non-district season with a foot injury.
As with the wide receiver corps, the only one coming back is Parker Frentriss. But remember, Fentriss missed the last portion of the 2013 season.
Gordon preparing for it all
When Wasson looks at senior Tariq Gordon, he can’t help but remember Sabian Holmes, the last Dragon who was true a two-way player.
Wasson is using the fall camp to put a plan in place on how to use Gordon this fall. Wasson told Gordon in the spring to start preparing that way. With the Dragons facing so many questions at wide receiver, Gordon has the skill set to handle the move from full-time defensive back to potential starting wide receiver.
“The way he’s come into camp, his mindset is great,” Wasson said. “Sabian could really handle that. I’m very pleased with the way Tariq has also handled it. We’re just going to have to watch him in games when the heat is really tough. But he can do it.
Running back options are so vast that if Wasson doesn’t like what he sees from his wide receivers, he may put some of his backsin wide receiver positions.
Whether or not Wasson plays that card remains to be seen. However, he has two good backs with juniors Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Grant McFarlin. The other running back who should see some time in 2014 is senior Deondre Wiltshire. Wasson, though, does seem seriously considering using at least Humphrey in slot receiver positions.
“The depth we have at running back is really special,” Wasson said. “There might be times when we have two or three backs on the field for any particular situation.”
Wasson has been pleased with the early work of senior inside linebackers Clark Parr and Joel McClellan. The two will be strong reinforcements for a defensive line that will need some time to blend with King Newton.
“They have looked really good in this camp,” Wasson said. “They came in at great condition mentally and physically. There’s no doubt they’re going to be one of the strengths of the defense.”
The Carroll place-kicking tradition now falls upon junior Jake Oldroyd. He will be succeeding Drew Brown who moved on to Nebraska. “He’s been kicking very well,” Wasson said.