Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 5, 2013

JUNIOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Getting into shape

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — The excitement of spring football has reached a fever pitch on the campus of Trinity Valley during the first full week of drills.

Coach Brad Smiley said he has 60 kids working out during spring drills at Bruce Field and on the TVCC campus.

“I have been really excited about the tempo that we have been working with,” Smiley said. “We have tried to push the tempo of practices and make things faster and get more reps and getting a bunch of stuff done in a short amount of time.”

The Cardinals have added two new coaches to the staff after the departure of Offensive Coordinator Sherard Poteete.

TVCC has welcomed Clay Patterson as the new Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach and Micah Hill as the new defensive backs coach.

“They have not missed a beat. I think offensively the kids really like coach Patterson and the defensive backs coach with Coach Hill is really doing well for us,” Smiley said. “I like having Coach Reed in the middle with the linebackers because he is tied with both groups. He is a part of the front seven on the running game and the back seven with the passing game.”

Following a 3-6 overall season in 2012 and a 1-5 record in Region XIV‚Äąconference play, the Cardinals are focused on finding the right pieces this season.

“The defensive ends spot are pretty talented and pretty deep right now,” Smiley said. “I would like to say the same thing at corner right now. We got a lot of growing up to do on the offensive and defensive lines right now. We are young and really green at both of those spots.”

Offensively, Smiley is looking at the tailbacks to have a strong year and Thaddeus Stewart was a player he recognized as a player to watch this season.

“The tailbacks are strong with Thad Stewart being a different back now,” Smiley said. “He is a returning veteran and it is fun seeing him go through it again. He knows what to do and he giggles seeing the other guys not knowing what to do.”

He said he is still looking at finding pieces on special teams to help with the holes at deep snapper and holder.

Sophomore punter and kicker Sam Fowler is returning this season.

“Every spot has some bright spots and they make me say all right, we are going to be all right at this spot,” Smiley said. “We still have to find a deep snapper and a holder on the special teams.”

He said pending any injuries, he is pleased with the number of kids that have come out and the work with the new coaches on the team.

“We got a lot of new faces with coaches and players that are coming in during the spring,” Smiley said. “We have 60 kids that have come out and we lost a few kids due to injuries. We lost one kid on the first day of full pads last week.

It is good numbers for the spring and we are two deep or three deep at some spots right now. We have competition at every spot right now and there is not one kid that has a spot locked up right now.”

With three more weeks of drills before they return for workouts in August, Smiley said the team needs to get as many repetitions in during practices as they prepare for the annual “Battle In the Valley” game against Iowa Western August 24 at Bruce Field.

“I think Coach Patterson on the offensive side of the ball has done a good job with doing that and getting the plays in,” Smiley said. “Offensively, we need it because we need to get the reps and defensively we need to see it because Iowa Western will do things that we need to see right off the bat. I have been really impressed with the kids and they are bringing a lot of energy and enthusiasm to practice.”