Knights don full padsPublished 8:53pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013
WILLIAMSTON — Riverside’s eighth-year coach Asim McGill has had 52 athletes show up for the first five practices of the 2013 season. On Wednesday, he and his coaching staff began to see how many of them are football players.
Yesterday marked the sixth official team practice which meant the pads can finally come out of the locker room and McGill was excited about being able to get a more in-depth look at his roster.
“We run the spread and everybody has always called our offense basketball on grass and everybody looks good running around on grass, but when we put those pads on we’re going to find out who the football players are,” McGill said.
With 25 of the 52 players checking in to camp being freshmen, that question has never been more important to McGill and the Knights.
Riverside returns only nine seniors from last year’s squad and features only five juniors, which makes the play of the underclassmen crucial.
“To me, pad day is kind of like the NFL preseason,” McGill said. “I’ve had some of these guys for four years, I know what they can do, but with some of these newer guys I want to find out what they can do.”
McGill said so far he has liked what he’s seen from the younger players.
“We’ve had a couple of freshmen that are some pretty strong kids. They looked good running around,” McGill said. “But, we’ll find out how they do once we have the pads on.”
The Knights will lean on nine Friday night veterans this season and McGill said so far he has been pleased with the play of his seniors.
“We got D.J. Beach, who’s been an offensive/defensive lineman for us and has been doing a great job,” McGill said. “Iran James is another returning senior lineman. Plus, we have Daniel Everette who is being recruited by several Div. I schools and is about 6-3, 225 pounds. Logan Mathews returns at center and Kyle Leggett is a returning tight end and we’re looking for all those guys to be leaders on the field for us.”
With a majority of the starting players expected to participate on offense and defense, McGill said conditioning is a major emphasis in camp right now.
“A lot of 1-A schools have to do it, but early on we will be facing some bigger schools that don’t have to play players both ways so we got to get in shape,” McGill said. “They got to understand that in order to play both ways they got to get in shape.”
McGill will get his first look at his upper and underclassmen in action on Saturday when Riverside hosts Plymouth, South Creek, White Oak, Northeastern and Pasquotank in a scrimmage that starts at 6 p.m.