Young guns stepping up

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Southside coach DeWayne Kellum (center) guides his team through a 7-on-7 drill Tuesday at Southside High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — Making plays is always a good way to get noticed, but with the first official day of football practice roughly three weeks away Southside coach DeWayne Kellum is more concerned with attitude than athleticism.
“I’m looking for guys that are jumping into drills and giving 110 percent,” Kellum said. “You can get so much more done when they show up and work professionally.”
With a turnout of nearly 60 athletes per minicamp Kellum has been pleased with the amount of players who have shown up and has been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm showed by his younger players.
“There are a few seniors that we’re counting on that don’t show up all the time but our freshmen — who did not have to come during the summer — have shown up in great numbers,” Kellum said. “We’re getting about 15-20 of them every day and we’re excited about that for the future.”
The good turnout at practice has led to progress as the Seahawks’ coach said the team is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was last year at this time.
“We’re right now, scheme-wise, at about where we were the second week of August,” Kellum said. “Offensive-wise we are always behind, but I would feel good enough that our first group could go in and play a game now with our base plays.”
On offense, Cole Kellum, who took over at quarterback for Terrill Moore midway through last season, is expected to take the snaps again this year but is being challenged at camp.
“He’s starting to talk a little bit more and feel more comfortable but Jake Ayers is giving him a run for his money,” Kellum said. “We have a couple of other guys that could play quarterback as far as play-action goes but they might be more valuable for us as running backs.”
Though the season hasn’t started yet Southside has already been bit by the injury bug as star DE/G Hayden Bogart will be out for a few months with a broken ankle. However, the Seahawks have picked up a player in the versatile 6-3 Chris Godley who is back on the team after having back surgery and could potentially fill a number of roles for Southside.
“He played two years ago but then had surgery on his back,” Kellum said. “He’s a senior now and he’s got a lot to learn before he catches up but anytime you’re that big you have potential … Right now we are looking at him at tight end and defensive end and hopefully he can help take Bogart’s place until he gets back.”
Defensively, the Seahawks may need a little extra time as the unit is transitioning from its 3-5 scheme of a year ago to a 4-4 defensive alignment.
“I like to have four down linemen … we talked about going back to a 4-3 but you have to make too many changes when people go to the spread,” Kellum said. “So I talked to (defensive coordinator) Jeff (Carrow) and said lets go to a 4-4 and we can convert to a 4-2 if we need to.”
Aside from learning the plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, Kellum said right now he is mainly looking to teach his team how to practice so that when the first official day of practice begins at the end of the month his players are ready to go.
“We want it so that when call out a drill we’re not teaching a drill,” Kellum said. “We want them to just be able to go out and do it and then we can work on technique. That’s what we’re hoping for. When we go out on the first day we want it to be like clockwork.”