The date and temperature might have given one pause as to what the Evans football team was doing last week.
The grass on the Knights' practice field was dormant a week after snowfall had been predicted for the area. But Evans was going through all the motions of its spring practice.
Coach Marty Jackson's team is first out of the gate in the area. The timing is designed to allow for baseball players such as Glenn Cassedy to participate in spring drills.
"We got so many that play baseball, tennis, track, soccer," Jackson said. "Better use them now."
Other county schools won't conduct spring practice until May. Jackson said he also was worried practice would interfere with exams.
Cassedy, an outfielder on the Knights' baseball team, is a strong candidate to start at quarterback for Evans this season. Many of the Knights' football coaches also coach baseball, including head baseball coach Ricky Beale.
The team that took the field last week had a different look from the Knights' past two teams, including their 2008 region title squad.
Four offensive linemen from this past season were seniors. Standout receiver Tevin Nelson was a senior, as was running back Jonathan Finch.
Two-year starter Troy Griffith will leave a void at quarterback. Cassedy backed up Griffith in 2009, but saw limited duty.
The good news for Evans offensive coordinator Mike Bibee is that running backs Jamerson Turner and Will Scott will return. "That makes you feel better that you got two backs coming back," he said. "They're good backs, but somebody's got to block for them."
Bibee said the January practice would be used to evaluate players, especially those coming up from junior varsity, to determine who would be ready to play Friday nights. Bibee said he and the other Knights coaches can look ahead to when the current crop of eighth-graders makes its way to varsity.
He said the spring is for taking stock of what the Knights will have this year. "It's not a planning-for-the-season period," Bibee said. "Spring is about looking at the kids and seeing potential."
Evans' staff will go through a number of changes before August. Beale is one of a few Knights football coaches who will shift spots in 2010. Quarterbacks and running backs coach Jim Connor stepped aside, as did defensive coordinator Durwood Sauls.
Beale is the new defensive coordinator. Marcus Allen will coach the Knights' secondary and Eric Watson will coach receivers.
Jackson said he has more assistants ready to hire pending Columbia County school board approval.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.