Even with a shortage of staff, Commerce interim head football coach Mike Brown feels that the Tigers are making strides in spring practice.
With approximately 55 players and only four coaches, the Tiger staff has had to make some adjustments to the typical spring schedule; however, Brown feels optimistic about the results.
“It has been a challenge to run a practice with only four coaches when we’ve had about 55 kids out,” he said. “That’s been tough, but I think the guys have done a good job with it. They have found ways to get as many kids involved in drills as they can. We have done the best we could with it.”
Brown noted that spring training has mostly focused on fundamentals – blocking, tackling and running.
“The kids have come out and been enthusiastic and worked hard,” he added. “We probably have done a little more contact than we have in years past.”
While the Tigers haven’t delved too deep into offensive and defensive schemes, it seems safe to assume that the Tigers will stick to what they do best – keep the ball on the ground and the backs in motion.
“We are doing a little less wing-t right now,” added Brown. “In the spring, we haven’t put in a ton of offense, but we are probably going to run what we have in years past – triple option and midline. We’ll have several plays to go with it.”
With Terrick Ramsey, Quay Little and Jamal Browner graduating, the Tigers will have to develop a new set of core backs if they hope to continue a multi-threat running game.
Brown hopes to rely on underclassmen backs such as Jamir Walton, Dye Johnson and Grant Mayberry to fill the position holes.
“(Walton) got a lot of playing time last year, and has had a really good spring,” Brown said. “We’ve had some guys kind of stepping up. Hopefully, we will have several that we can really evaluate and take a look at.”
As far as the quarterback position is concerned, Drew Whitfield has returned and, according to Brown, is “having a really good spring.”
Brown also noted that the Tigers are fortunate to have up-and-coming young quarterbacks in sophomore Caleb Brooks and freshman Cole Chancey.
“Drew’s obviously got the most experience, but we have several behind him that are going to compete for that backup role,” Brown said.
While the Tigers have accomplished a lot this spring, Brown says it’s only the beginning of a long preseason, and that there is still much work to be done, including summer workouts and camps.
“We will try to install a little more of our offense in the next few months and really spend time on fundamentals,” he said. “When practice officially starts, we will have a big chunk of it already in. We are going to continue to work hard – three days a week in June and probably four in July.”