Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Brevard College Completes First Week of Practice

Brevard College completed its first week of football practice with a controlled intra-squad scrimmage in rainy weather on a very muddy practice field on Saturday morning. Although the sloppy field conditions made for difficult footing and some sloppy ball-handling, head coach Bobby Poss was positive about the progress of the start-up program.
"As a start-up program there have got to be challenges. We were challenged today with the mud and the slippery footing. But, we are getting a great effort from out players. They have picked up the system really well. Execution is lacking because of the short length of time we have been together, but the effort and attitude is great. This is a good group of young men..."
Coach Poss identified three freshmen that are currently locked in a battle for the starting quarterback slot: Will Cox (6'3", 185, Taccoa, Ga); Mathew Gaines (6'0" 185, Simpsonville, SC); and Colby McKoy (6'3", 180, Candler, NC). "Those are in alphabetical order," emphasized Poss. "We are getting closer to structuring our depth chart, but it is still too early to say who our starters will be. They still have couple of weeks to fight for playing time."
The Tornados have a talented stable of running backs. Tyrone Arrington (5'10, 175, Jacksonville, NC) and Donald Hudson (5'7, 170, Augusta, Ga.) both showed their athletic ability at tailback. Fullbacks Rashad Neely (5'11", 240, Niceville, Florida) and Willis Earle (5'11, 208) have also had solid performances according to Coach Poss. On the offensive side of the ball the biggest challenge may be the offensive line. "As may be expected, the biggest challenge that you face with a start-up program is the offensive line. Most of the time offensive linemen take about three years to develop. If you look at most D-II and D-I programs, the starting offensive linemen are red-shirt juniors and seniors with at least three years of physical development and experience. This is the group that will take the most time in coming around." Poss identified Brian Young (6'0", 250, Winston-Salem, NC) and Anthony Gualdi (6'4", 290, Oviedo, FL) as offensive linemen that enjoyed good first week of practice.
In talking about the offense, Poss remarked, "There will be a lot of [depth] chart flow as these players battle for starting positions. I imagine that we will play a lot of kids since our talent level is so balanced. In terms of philosophy, our goal is to get one more point that the other guy, so there is no pre-determined run-pass formula. We will do what we need to do in order to win."
The defensive squad, particularly the defensive line, is characterized as "banged up," after the first couple days of full-contact drills. Brevard College defensive coordinator and assistant head coach, Mike Houston, noted that linebacker Butch Bridges (6'0", 215, Canton, NC) had a great week of practice. "He showed a great deal of toughness and the ability to make big plays. He was very physical in contact drills and he gets to the football. Right now there are a lot of battles going on for the other linebacker spots." In the secondary, Justin Bacon (6'0", 170, Clyde, NC) and Josh Durm (6'0", 180, Franklin, NC) had good practices during the week. Brandon Smith (6'0", 190) has emerged as the top rover back. Travis Flynn (6'0", 215, East Flat Rock, NC) performed well on the defensive line. "It is hard to say what our starting line-up would be," said Houston, the former head coach at T.C. Roberson High School. "Today's film is going to be big. We have a number of players, including several walk-ons, battling for starting spots."
Ninety-seven players remain on the roster after the first week of practice as the team continues preparation for the opening game with UVA Wise on August 26. "We need to be a lot further along in order to be ready to play on August 26, but we are further along than you think we would be. There are several facets of the game that we haven't been able to touch on yet." Poss identified special teams as a primary area of focus, noting that Hendersonville native, Luke Loveless would likely be called on to handle the punting duties. "As far as our opponents go, I don't know zilch. We have just word of mouth and film exchange to go on as we prepare for UVA Wise."
This fall, Brevard College is fielding its first varsity football team in more than 50 years. The Tornados will compete as an NCAA Division II independent with a team composed predominately of freshmen. A total equivalency of 22 scholarships (11 athletic, 11 institutional) was used to attract the squad of 100 players for this inaugural season. "The fact that we have been able to recruit and prepare this team is a testament to the quality of this coaching staff," remarked Poss. "We are terribly understaffed and everyone has been asked to do a little extra. This is a great group of coaches that is committed and devoted to the program. They each have at least two jobs on the field and probably 25 off the field. They are managing equipment, doing laundry, and lining the fields in addition to their coaching. I don't know when anyone sleeps."

Brevard College's first football game in more than fifty years is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2006 at Brevard Memorial Stadium (Brevard High School). Advanced general admission tickets go on sale Monday, August 14, 2006. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the following locations: Brevard Chamber of Commerce, Brevard College Institutional Advancement Office, Mountain 1st Bank (Brevard), Brevard College Athletics and the Transylvania Times. Tickets will be available at the stadium on the day of the game.


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