Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Fort Dorchester skill-position players put in a lot of work last month and Patriot football coach Steve LaPrad says the workouts and passing competitions are paying off.
“The good thing is 7-on-7 (events) have become a lot more physical,” LaPrad said. “Receivers have to fight to get open in these tournaments so it helps them and as coaches we learn a little about their physicality. Defensive backs don’t get to tackle but it can show you who your cover guys are and who can break on the football.”
This summer the Patriots are looking for players to step up and replace the skill players the team lost to graduation. The Fort lost both its starting quarterback and leading receiver.
Colt Davis and Coby Garrett are the frontrunners for the QB position. Garrett is a rising junior who has done well this summer and led the Patriots Blue team to the championship game of the Fort’s Air it Out passing tournament last weekend. However, Davis is a rising senior with a year’s more experience so the Patriots will carry a healthy competition for the starting role into practice this August.
The Patriots have a nice mix of returning players and varsity rookies working out at receiver this summer.
“Rashad Palmer and Corey Rawlings did a good job for us last year so we are really counting on them,” LaPrad said. “De’Monte Bailey is another go to guy. We also have some young guys coming up and some guys who were backups last year who are looking good this summer.”
The Patriots also lost two solid running backs who could both catch the ball out of the backfield. LaPrad says at the running back position, his coaching staff has high hopes for transfer Nashawn Cirus and rising senior Matt Murray, who is coming off a knee surgery.
Last year the Patriots’ secondary was largely inexperienced. This year, the team should be in better shape coverage wise and it does return some linebackers who were major contributors last season.
“Our secondary was young but they are doing better now,” LaPrad said. “I think they have developed and we have some depth there. Those kids are working hard this summer.”
With the bulk of its 7-on-7 season behind him, LaPrad remains optimistic.
“I think skill-wise we will be ok,” he said. “I’m not saying we are the best we have ever been, but I think we are ok.”
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