Defensive line ready to wage war in the trenches

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Bainbridge Bearcat defensive line is working on improving its depth at the tackle positions while giving its senior-laden rotation of defensive ends time and space to make plays.

Seniors Darius Adams and Devin Morris along with junior Roman Harrison have shown improvement all summer long at defensive end, much to the excitement of ends coach Blake Cecil.

Harrison, who Cecil is not afraid to admit is one of the most talented players on the team in terms of raw athletic ability, has improved on his work ethic and strength. He has the perfect body and intangibles for defensive end, and coaches are pushing him to be a big playmaker this season,

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“We are expecting the same and more out of him this year,” Cecil said. “His technique has gotten a lot better and he has gotten a lot stronger in the weight room. When you add those two together, and he has a great work ethic and good attitude, it’s a good combination.”

Morris is a three-year starter that recorded 44 tackles last season and 2.5 sacks. Cecil is expecting even bigger things from him this season.

Adams has arguably come the furthest since last season, according to Cecil.

“Last year he was a spot guy,” Cecil said. “We used him on special teams. He isn’t scared of contact. He’s ready to hit. He has a lot of potential and he will be getting a lot of playing time this year.”

Improvement needs to come in the details for all three defensive ends, he added. Setting their eyes, their feet and other fundamentals are constant areas of focus for Adams, Morris and Harrison, but Cecil admits they know how to play the position pretty well as far as what he is asking them to do.

Bainbridge has three seniors stepping up to defensive tackle: Trajan Harris, Zion Andrews and Montavis Buggs.

A younger player making a run for a starting position is sophomore Damien Scott, along with a host of freshmen learning the process from tackles coach Brian McCorkle. The goal is to build enough depth at the position to keep the line fresh.

“We are just trying to build as much depth as we can,” McCorkle said. “You can never have enough. With the modern game and everybody throwing the ball all over the place, you want to have as many of those guys as you can get up front to rush the passer.”

Every defensive lineman returning from last year is bigger, stronger and faster than last year. It’s clear Harris, Andrews and the other players have put in the time in the weight room to improve their performances this fall.

“They are doing a good job of being here and they want to improve on a daily basis,” McCorkle said. “I’m pleased with where we are there.”

McCorkle would like to see improvements in block recognition, a skill he acknowledges will take time. Repetition and experience will develop them.

“It’s just a matter of reps,” McCorkle said. “Until it becomes second nature.”

See Saturday’s edition for a preview of the offensive line.