Younger players one focus of spring practice at Benton
For Benton coach Reynolds Moore, the best thing about spring practice was that the younger players on the team were able to get some quality work in.
With veteran starting quarterback Garrett Hable with the baseball team for the first part of the nine-day session, Ken Gay got to take snaps with the first team.
“Knowing that Hable is entering his last season with us, it’s critical that we are intentional about preparing the next man,” Moore said in an email. “Ken did great. He is very coachable and a great teammate. He is very raw, but I like that since it means we can mold him how we see fit.”
Hable, who has been the starter since the second half of his freshman season, is one of three players returning for their senior seasons who have helped the Tigers win 10 games each of the last three seasons.
All-Parish running back Jermaine Newton and receiver Doyle Adams Jr. are the others. Benton went 10-2 last year including a 28-14 upset of No. 7 Rayne in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
The offensive line returns three starters and another, Avery Deen, who started seven games last year. Moore said Deen is one of the three or four strongest players on the roster. “We should be very salty up front,” he said.
One big hole to fill is at wide receiver with the departure of John Westmoreland to Southern Arkansas.Bubba Osby, who started at free safety as a sophomore last season, has been moved to slot receiver opposite Adams
“He is going to give us a speed threat there that we need,” Moore said. “He picked up the offense quickly and we are excited about him. We have several guys competing for John’s spot, but we won’t know who that will be until after 7-on-7 this summer.
Defensively, Moore said there are gaps to fill in the secondary.
His biggest concern going into summer workouts is lack of depth, especially up front on both sides of the ball.
Benton was supposed to scrimmage Haughton, but the scrimmage was cancelled because of a concern about field conditions at Benton after heavy rain the previous day.
Moore is looking forward to the summer, including 7-on-7 games.
He’s excited to see what Hable and Co. can do for their swan song.
“If we stay healthy, we can ride those guys a long way, but we have got to get some guys in there who can step in if something bad happens,” he said.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com