Physical lineup of linebackers ready to hit season head on

Published 4:38 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

According to inside linebackers coach Dan Klages, every sport has to be good in the middle. Whether it’s football, basketball or baseball, the middle is where plays are made for both offense and defense.

With that in mind, the 2017 Bainbridge linebackers are being coached to handle whatever opponents’ offenses run or throw their way.

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The returning starter with the most experience is senior Tre Storey, who played 10 games at the position last season and had 53 tackles.

Junior Bowen Dodson also saw some reps last season at middle linebacker and will do the same this season. However, juggling between defense and his offensive position at tight end will be tough, so younger or less experienced players like junior Anthony Brooks and sophomores Dylan Olds and Jarvis Martin will need to step up.

“Bowen is going to play a lot of offense, so some of those other guys are going to have to step up there and be an every-down player when we need them, because Bowen, especially early in the season, using him as much as we do on offense, it’s going to be hard for him to get more than about half the snaps,” Klages said. “That’s something we are trying to do, grow the other guys up.”

To mix things up a little more, defensive ends Devin Morris and Roman Harrison are getting some time at linebacker, although it isn’t official if they’ll permanently play there or only when needed.

Klages is training all of the middle linebackers to spot the details of an offense instead of seeing the big picture.

“Not see the trees for the forest,” Klages said. “Coaches call it eye discipline. And especially these days with as many motions and shifts that will catch your eye, you still have to focus in on them.”

Two juniors are getting the starting nod at the outside linebacker: Bryce Worthy and Randy Fillingame. Coach Joe Dollar said both players are intelligent and versatile.

“It’s going really well,” Dollar said. “They are really smart players and able to do a lot of different things. They can diagnose what is happening quickly, and they can cover well. We are just able to do a lot of things with them because they are athletic and they are smart and they understand what is important.”

Other players at rotation for outside linebacker are the Broadnax brothers, Markel and Rashad, and Courtney Thomas.

“We need lots of reps,” Dollar said. “When we get pads on we need to work on getting off blocks. It’s hard to work on those kinds of things during the summer.”

Check back next issue for a glimpse at the wide receiving corps.