“I’m very proud of the guys for being committed,” TC Central head coach Damien Dorsey said. “I ended up right at 26 guys that played in the game and we got everyone in. Everyone enjoyed it and got better. I think we’ve gotten a whole lot better. Defensively, we looked good. Offensively, we’re going to need some time, but that’s football. We were very pleased with the outcome of the games.”
Playing on the artificial turf at Burgess-Snow Field was a different experience for many of the players. With temperatures soaring into the high 80s, the team noticed the field conditions were actually a little warmer than the temperatures in the air.
“They talked about being exposed to different elements, how hot it was on the turf, but they enjoyed it,” Dorsey said. “It was a good experience for them because some of them may not ever play on field turf again. So, they can at least say they played in a college stadium on field turf in their life.”
Playing in a significantly larger venue, with a 24000-seat capacity, in a college atmosphere excited the players.
“That exposure for some of those guys to be able to play on a college field and to be able to get exposure in front of college coaches was a big plus for our guys,” Dorsey said. “They were real amped up for that and it showed in their play. Everyone played hard; I couldn’t ask for anything more effort from the guys—they gave everything they had.”
With this being Dorsey’s first full spring as head coach there has been more continuity, which has allowed the coaching staff more time to teach the team concepts.
“With continuity, the guys are able to fully grasp and we’re better able to teach,” Dorsey said. “The guys slow down and we can teach them the fundamentals and they can understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how to do it.”
Dorsey has seen greater commitment from his players this spring, with his seniors stepping up and showing leadership. He believes the first step toward winning involves working hard, and he has seen that from his team this spring.
“The expectation is basically just we’re going to continue to play hard and make sure that we understand the fundamentals,” Dorsey said. “Sometimes when you play hard and you work hard, luck seems to come your way. That’s what we’re trying—to make our own luck, definitely for the seniors. We’ve got one goal and that’s just to send the seniors out as winners. That’s our only goal this year—make sure the seniors go out as winners.”
The coaching staff has been able to get a closer look at the players throughout spring practices, as well as during the spring jamboree.
“We know that we’ve got some players,” Dorsey said. “We found some surprises also as far as our lineman. So, we were able to find some young lineman who can probably come in and give some guys a breather this year instead of all of them playing all the games every minute.”
Among the players who stood out, safety Justin Woodruff has shown great improvement and is playing with greater confidence. Offensive lineman Kristian Jones slid down to play tackle and coaches liked what they saw out of Jones. Corey White has gotten reps at quarterback, but has moved primarily to wide receiver.
“We actually moved Corey this spring to wide receiver,” Dorsey explained. “We gave Zekyle a majority of the reps and gave Corey some reps. That’s the way we want it. We want to give Corey the ball in space. He’s a dynamic player. So, we’re working him in at quarterback and at wide receiver for right now. Zekyle Stockdale right now, who’s going to be a senior, is going to be quarterback.”
Two other players Dorsey expects to play a big role for the team in the upcoming season are rising seniors Jeremy Allen and Derrick Tuck.
“We’re expecting Jeremy Allen to take on a bigger role,” Dorsey said. “He’ll be a senior this year. He’s a real explosive guy. He didn’t catch the ball much last year, but we’re expecting him to really contribute. We’re really expecting Derrick Tuck—we moved him from o-line to fullback—to give us more explosiveness there too and give Corey Morris a breather. So, we’ve got two senior fullbacks who are going to help us out a whole lot.”