5/23/2013 8:32:00 PM Optimism high after spring drills Offensive, defensive work done
Perkins-Tryon football coach Lloyd Wertman addresses the team following the end of last Thursday’s spring practice, which was the fi nal day of workouts. Players will have a brief break before starting Summer Pride workouts. Fall drills begin in August and the Demons will begin the season at Jones on Friday, Sept. 6.
Journal photo by Rick Lomenick
By Rick Lomenick Journal Sports Editor
The optimism level is high after the recently completed spring football drills for the Perkins-Tryon Demons.
P-T will be hoping to improve on last season's 5-6 record that has a four-game losing streak carrying over to the 2013 campaign. The Demons reached the Class 3A playoffs but lost in the first round to Jones after a season-opening upset win at McIlvain Field.
The coaching staff broke the two-week workouts into separate offensive and defensive priorities. Offense started things off, said head coach Lloyd Wertman who is starting his ninth season at the helm. Working out only in shorts and helmets, the coaching staff installed segments of the zone read into the pistol package currently utilized. And the results have Wertman pleased.
Wertman and his staff received assistance with the package by longtime friend and former Beggs coach Bob Craig and his staff.
"We've always liked that type of play but when you put something in like that you need to call people who are familiar with it and that's what we did," Wertman said. He added that is better than going to a coaches' clinic because time can be spent one-on-one with the coaches with questions and comments.
Wertman said he was pleased with the way the offense picked up on the new wrinkle.
Last week's emphasis was all defense and what really excited the skipper most was the way players responded to the second year of utilizing the 4-2-5 defensive alignment that was introduced last season by then new defensive coordinator Steven Grotheer.
"You can already tell in the spring we are more familiar with terminology, technique, stance, and alignment. You can tell things are better," Wertman said. He added he and his staff were pleased with the way the players moved to the ball with more confidence than a year ago.
A couple of things the Demons didn't do was work on the kicking game plus the Black and White scrimmage that officially ends spring drills.
Another area of optimism is the number of players participating in spring drills. Wertman reported 45 sophomores through juniors this year, which is nearly double the number from a year ago. And with that increase in numbers, comes the increase in competition for positions and playing time.
The Demons return three quarterbacks who saw significant action last season. Wertman feels there will be quite a battle between Shelby Reese, Zac Bledsoe, and Dillon Longbrake. P-T will also return its two leading rushers in Tyler Taff and Jacob Peyton. On the receiving side, when he's not playing quarterback, Reese will be joined by Matt Waitt and John Sasser as potential targets for the passing game.
Defensively, the Demons return their second, third, and fourth leading tacklers in linebackers Clark Crotty and Peyton, along with defensive back Reese.
"There is going to be a lot of competition for positions and that's good and will just make us better," Wertman said. "We are going to have a lot of guys pushing a lot of guys for playing time and starting time."
Players will have a break before beginning Summer Pride workouts on June 3. Sessions will be from 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. That regime will continue through late July.
"We still have to get bigger, faster, and stronger," Wertman said. "We did have a great offseason over the winter and I look forward to a great Summer Pride."
Senior-led team workouts will start during seventh hour when school begins on Wednesday, Aug. 7, and will continue through Friday, Aug. 9. A team meeting will be held for freshmen through seniors on Monday, Aug. 12, starting at 6 p.m. at the football fieldhouse. Regulation practices begin during seventh hour on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
The first week of workouts will culminate with the intrasquad scrimmage scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at McIlvain Field. Afterward, Wertman will introduce his coaching staff along with team members to the crowd that will assemble.
The first of two preseason scrimmages will be Friday, Aug. 23, when the Demons will host Perry at 6 p.m., also at McIlvain Field. P-T will travel to Hennessey on Thursday, Aug. 29, also scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
The season begins Friday, Sept. 6, when the Demons travel to Jones for a 7:30 p.m. game. The home-opener will be Friday, Sept. 20, when P-T will host Verdigris as part of homecoming festivities.