Brandon Bowles, Staff Writer
It’s that time of year again. That time when every college football team is evaluating what they have and what they need to work on. Wingate’s annual spring game will be held on April 8 at 11:30 A.M.
During the spring Head football coach Joe Reich said, the one thing he looks forward to is “being able to teach.” In the fall there is not much time to teach, because you are getting ready for a game every weekend.
Coaches and players take the spring to break down a certain play, or offensive scheme and take what they caught on film and learn from what they did right and wrong. Spring practice is definitely a more relaxed environment than in the fall. Coaches still push the players to perform to their highest potential, but they also realize that it is the spring and not everything will be perfect.
In terms of getting into a rhythm Reich believes the Offense has been able to get off to a faster start then the defense; thanks in large part to the veteran leadership on the offense.
Having this veteran leadership has helped the new starting quarterback James Whitaker have a seamless transition from being the backup to Kyle Johnson the year before. Reich is pleased with Whitaker’s performance this spring, as he has shown he is capable of leading the offense. Reich’s top three offensive players this spring have been quarterback James Whitaker, wide receiver BJ Muckelvene and center Daniel Owens.
Defensively it has been harder to find a consistent flow. A lot of guys that did not get a lot of playing time last year are being asked to step into more prominent roles.
Veteran linebacker Zack Singleton will need to continue his leadership role and help the younger guys develop their confidence and find their place in the defiance. Singleton and defensive end Cardell Rawlings and Cal Hanford have had a good spring according to Reich.
The offensive line is coming back intact and is primed to have a good season in the fall. Reich believes that having that stability up front will help the offense run a lot faster because they have a veteran offensive line.
This past season Wingate was able to have a good year running the ball. This spring they have focused on becoming a better pass protection team and Reich felt that they have taken the first steps in doing that this spring.
With the spring coming to a close on Saturday, players have one more week to try and impress the coaching staff and make a name for themselves before they reconvene in August for the beginning of the season
With a good mix of young and experienced players this team could be one to keep an eye out for. Wingate looks to improve on an 8-3 record last season falling one win short of being SAC champions. This spring players have been told by coaches to come to practice with their mind set on proving to every opponent that they are physically and mentally stronger than they are.
To satisfy that football craving, come out to support the team this Saturday and get a sneak peek at the talent that will be put on display for next season. At 11:30 a.m come to Irwin Belk stadium with family and friends and enjoy a little spring football action.
Photo Source: Wingate University Athletics
Edited by: Brea Childs