Bainbridge linemen look to control line of scrimmage

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Bainbridge Bearcats are starting the 2018 season with a senior-laden offensive line and a talent-rich defensive line, each led by multiyear starters.

With a year under his belt as offensive line coach, Ryan Kineard is pleased with where the unit is as the opening game against Seminole County closes in on Aug. 17. Despite some minor injuries that should be healed up in a couple of weeks, the group of offensive linemen has improved over the summer, Kineard said.

“We have a good core group returning from last year,” said Kineard. “(Seniors) Brad Mitchell, Ben Mitchell and Jacob McLaughlin. Jacob was an all-region guy, and Brad was an all-region honorable mention. That is pretty much our core returning. They are doing well.”

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Kineard said that core group has done everything Kineard has asked them to do, and then some. They also possess a high football IQ and remember things well. Kineard often leans on them to get information during games of what’s happening on the line of scrimmage so the offense can adapt its plan.

“We’ll go as far as they want to take us,” said Kineard.

Another pair of seniors, Tim and Terrell Anderson, provide even more depth for the offensive line rotation. Senior Colby Davis will be a first-year starter as well. Dax McNair is another player to keep an eye on, as well.

Vick Wimberly, who played defensive line up until now, has made the transition to offensive line.

When Kineard arrived in Bainbridge last summer, he talked about refocusing the blocking philosophy of the offensive line. Rather than finesse blocking, Kineard focused on coaching a more explosive block. That has worked out well, he said. “That has really come a long way,” said Kineard. “We have put in a lot more gap scheme plays. We still run the zone a good bit, too.”

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Bainbridge defensive line has found its leaders in two seniors defensive ends: Roman Harrison and Bowen Dodson.

Harrison, a three-year starter, is listed at 6-feet-2-inches and 232 pounds, has eight college offers, including Michigan State, Tennessee and Florida Atlantic.

“Roman has done a good job of leading that group,” said defensive line coach Brian McCorkle. “He practices as hard as he plays. He does a good job. All of our older guys have done a good job of helping those younger guys, fundamentally and with technique.”

Dodson also has three years of experience on the varsity squad, and will be a major part of the defensive line unit. Dodson and Harrison together combined for 60 tackles and 10 sacks last season alone.

Junior Arkeavious Marshall, senior Tim Anderson and senior Ralph Register are also having a great summer of practice, McCorkle said. Sophomore Simpson Bowles is an up and comer who has been putting in good work too.

“We would like to get as many of those guys on the field as we can, as long as they can do what we need them to do and stay fresh up front,” said McCorkle.

Check next edition for a preview on Bainbridge’s running backs and wide receivers for the 2018 season.