ROCKINGHAM — A fresh start is in order for the Richmond Senior football team.
When spring practice kicks off Monday, first-year head coach Bryan Till will get a very early look at the majority of the talent that will suit up this fall. Although he’s spent a lot time with his players in the weight room, Till is itching at the opportunity to get on the field and do things that are “football specific.”
“I’ll really get to see what these guys can do on the football field,” he said. “They’ve done a tremendous job (in the weight room), so I anticipate them going out there at a high level, too. I expect them to transfer that energy to the football field.”
One of the biggest storylines heading into the new season will revolve around the quarterback position. The Raiders are losing Leon Zeigler to graduation and hope to find his replacement sooner rather than later.
A few candidates vying for the job at the moment include Kaleb Douglas, Jada Edwards and Noah Altman.
Douglas, a rising senior, served as Zeigler’s backup last season. Edwards led Richmond’s junior varsity team to an undefeated record and a conference championship during his sophomore year, while Altman took his snaps under center at the Ninth-Grade Academy.
Till says a few other athletes have come in and talked to quarterback coach Jay Jones about what the expectations are for position. Whoever else adds their names to the pot will take part in a number of drills that will put their footwork and accuracy to the test.
“That’s going to be a big part of spring,” Till said. “It doesn’t matter how good the kid is athletically. Nowadays in 4A football, if you can’t throw the ball accurately when you need to, then you can’t play quarterback.
“We have to see who can grasp things quickly — whose mind is like a sponge,” he added.
There will be “almost an hour’s worth” of individual drills each day in order for players to correct, and perfect, different techniques that will help them succeed. Members of the coaching staff are expected to use their phones and iPads to record players as they train — that way, Till says, coaches can collect and look over as much video as possible.
While the quarterback candidates try to prove themselves, the team’s defensive backs will be learning a slightly different way to cover opposing receivers. Till’s defensive scheme encourages more of a press technique.
The Raiders defensive backs relied on their ability to back pedal over the past two seasons.
“For me, the DB position is going to be huge to evaluate,” Till explained. “We’re going to play a little more man coverage this year than they did last year.”
Till won’t be expecting many players to be vocal during spring practices. He’d rather his leaders set examples by being on time, attentive in meetings and having high energy in everything they do.
That’ll go a long way this fall when coaches are looking for players they can trust as team captains.
“Those type of things are going to help separate guys,” Till said. “We’re not going to have the starting lineup at the end, but guys should be able to separate themselves as potential starters.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.
The Richmond Senior football team is eager to begin its spring practice Monday afternoon after months in the weight room. Head coach Bryan Till says he will be looking for players to lead by example over the next two weeks.