Flashes building depth in preseason

Published 11:30 am Friday, August 3, 2012

Like most teams, the St. Aloysius Flashes have a laundry list of things to accomplish over the next three weeks.

Get in shape. Break in a new quarterback. Find a running back.

First and foremost, however, is building depth.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Only four players on the 36-man roster are seniors. A number of underclassmen contributed last season, but figuring out which ones can do it again in 2012 and which newcomers will play key roles is crucial.

“We got a good start in the spring. We feel good at some positions, but need to find some quality backups. The goal is to get two solid players at each position,” St. Al coach B.J. Smithhart said. “We’ve got to find out which freshmen can help us consistently. You want to build on the spring and summer, and you only have three weeks to find your guys.”

The Flashes will play a preseason scrimmage Aug. 10 at St. Andrew’s, then start preparations for the regular season opener Aug. 17 at Madison-St. Joe.

The season opener, originally scheduled for a Thursday night, was moved back to Friday last week.

Smithhart said the scrimmage will allow his team to not only see where they need to improve, but also how far they have to go to get into game shape.

“I like it a lot. You get good game conditioning,” Smithhart said. “I don’t think they realize how different it is from running in practice to being in a game and getting hit.”

The scrimmage will also give Smithhart his first good look at some new skill players. Sophomore Connor Smith will step in as the starting quarterback, while five players — Elliott Bexley, John Austin Jones, Barrett Teller, Forest Logue and Casey Landers — will vie for playing time at running back.

Logue is the most experienced of the group. He rushed for 268 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries last season.

The running back quintet will have big shoes to fill. Last season, graduated senior Carlton Campbell rushed for 1,267 yards and nine touchdowns, and finished with 1,901 all-purpose yards. Campbell also punted and was third on the team in tackles.

Smithhart said his new backs will all see playing time, at least initially.

“We’ll probably play them all to keep them fresh on offense and defense, until we get that one guy to emerge,” Smithhart said.

Smith, who is entering his first season as the starting quarterback, will also play a part in the running game.

“He can move really well. But he’s not going to be a between the tackles type runner,” Smithhart said.