Aligning the flockPublished 12:47pm Saturday, August 2, 2014
Carrow’s Seahawks concentrate on cohesiveness following 3-9 season
CHOCOWINITY — Trudging through a spongy, rain-soaked Southside practice field for the first time this season, senior guard Austin Jordan shouted commands at his linemates as head coach Jeff Carrow looked on.
Like any team on the first day of practice, there were some mistakes at first, but after a few run-throughs, Jordan had his line operating in unison.
After skipping 7-on-7s this summer, Carrow is sticking with the customary offensive and defensive blueprint in 2014, but is adjusting the team’s philosophy, concentrating primarily on organization and cohesiveness.
“I feel like we tried to do too much last summer, as far as jumping into a couple of 7-on-7s. It got us away from what we wanted to do,” Carrow said. “We have focused tremendously this summer on playing as a team, focusing on having no individuals. We don’t have a superstar on the team, but overall I think we’re very solid on both sides of the ball.”
Coming off a disappointing 3-9 finish in 2013, fundamentals have become the Seahawk’s preseason focal point. The shift in thinking was on display at practice, as each player got their feet wet (quite literally) by rotating through a series of agility drills.
Carrow hopes a new attitude and approach can help cut down on some of the rampant inconsistency that occurred on both sides of the ball last season, beginning with the offense, which had flashes of brilliance and averaged about 21 points per game.
“With what we run, I have to have somebody that can be efficient in running the offense — eliminate mistakes,” Carrow said. “With the Wing-T offense, I have to have someone that will take charge, get formations straight and be knowledgeable. I expect a quarterback to know not only his steps, his roles, but also the back steps, the line steps. The quarterback is the coach on the field, in any offense really, but more so the Wing-T.”
While junior Johnny Sullivan took the majority of the snaps under center for Southside last year, Carrow is welcoming a QB competition.
Carrow says sophomore Marshall Medlock has gained height, weight and arm strength this offseason and will be competing against Sullivan for the starting role. With the Southside offense stresses running the football, Carrow admits he will go with the best overall game manager, whoever can pilot the offense more efficiently.
On the other side of the ball, a deficiency in form tackling cost the Seahawks a few close games in 2013. Carrow will work towards fixing that flaw in August and expects Jordan, the play-caller, to unify the defense.
Carrow sees the conference as extremely competitive, top-to-bottom, but expects his team to compete for the top spot.
“I want to set high goals for our guys, and we keep that between me and the team for what our true goals really are,” he said. “Because we’re still young in spots, I want them to focus day-by-day, game-by-game in order to get better. Right now, we’re focusing on our first scrimmage. We’ll just keep building from there.”