Flashes improve defense in spring drills

Published 11:43 am Friday, May 18, 2012

Fixing a defense that was overmatched at times last season was a big emphasis for St. Aloysius coach B.J. Smithhart as spring training wrapped Monday.

The Flashes got to see their revamped defense in action with a pair of jamboree games at Ridgeland last week. St. Al beat Ethel and Newton Academy.

Smithhart said the scoreboard results were not as important as seeing how much his team improved over the course of 15 days or work.

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“For us, this was a starting point for the fall,” Smithhart said. “We got a better idea of who will compete for which roles come next season. The big thing I wanted to see was us playing together as a team. I also wanted to see us get more physical, especially on defense.”

Another good note was St. Al’s offense committed just one turnover.

“That was a big bright spot,” Smithhart said. “We feel like we have a good core coming back on defense with Sage Lewis and Elliott Bexley in the middle of our defense. We didn’t have Elliott during the spring because he was still competing in golf, but we got to look at some other guys. We were able to sub in a lot of people.”

The Flashes had 30 players available this spring. but Smithhart expects to have 34 ready to go in the fall. Two big holes the team has to fill are on the offense line, as senior center Robert Arledge and tackle Scott Johnson are graduating.

“Bash Brown has replaced Arledge at center and we’re still looking at Paxton Austin and a couple of others at left tackle,” Smithhart said.

Rising sophomore Connor Smith has taken the lead at quarterback. Carlisle Koestler, last year’s starting quarterback, transferred to Warren Central at the end of the season.

Smithhart feels he’s established a good two-deep rotation at tailback and fullback. Barrett Teller and Forrest Logue will be counted on to replace running back Carlton Campbell, who led the team with 1,267 rushing yards.