Football: Healthy spring key as Deer put focus on 2011 season
The Deer Park football team recently wrapped up spring practice with their annual maroon and gold spring game.
Deer coach Chris Massey said it was a successful spring, with he and his staff identifying a few players at key positions, several top returners looking good and, most importantly, everyone staying healthy.
"Our biggest concern going in was how we were going to replace offensive and defensive linemen, and to be honest we still have some questions there, but a few guys stepped up," Massey said.
The Deer desperately needed a few good linemen to step up. They have only one starter back on the offensive line and none on the D-line.
Junior tackles Jason Rhodes and Josh Williams both impressed in the spring and likely earned starting nods this fall, and junior guard Tanner Roberts also surprised a few people with his spring.
The defensive line is less settled going into the summer.
"We feel like we've got an idea who they're going to be, but when they're all young like that it certainly can change," Massey said.
Another key this fall was putting together a more reliable receiving corps.
"We had to get better throwing the football," Massey said. "There wasn't any question about that. Last year we really only had one guy we could go to consistently, and that was Payden McVey (who signed with Lamar).
"This year, honestly, we feel like we have five good receivers, and the neat thing about it is four of them are juniors."
The receivers creating excitement include sophomores Eric Luna and Josh Rutherford, who was the backup quarterback last season, and Kyle Liescheski.
Austin Rainer is preparing for his third season as the starting QB. He made strides last season in Year 2 and Massey expects more improvement next season.
"He had a real good spring, he really did," Massey said. "He's getting a lot smarter as a quarterback, he's doing a lot better job of reading coverages, and he's putting the ball where it's supposed to go and not just throwing it out there and hoping one of our good guys goes and catches it."
Juniors Demetrius Banks and Justin James will be back in the backfield, along with fullback Clay De La Garza.
"From a skill-position standpoint I feel pretty good about our offense," Massey said. "But that's going to depend on how well our offensive line comes around and takes care of their business."
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