“I think we’re at a pretty good point with it for going into game one,” Beckett said. “You’re going to have to clean up. That’s with any team: a veteran team you’re going to have to clean up and assess yourself and see what you can handle because it’s definitely different when you get under the lights. Our last segment of our practice today we just worked on adversity and what you’re going to get on game night. In part, we handled some things well and in part, it was throwing us off—hearing the noise and all. That’s something we’ll continue to work on until we eventually tune that out.”
One of the big questions on the fans of both Winterboro fans and opponents alike is: who will be the team’s starting quarterback? The answer is both Brady Wideman and Cardri Duncan.
“We’ll just kind of see as we go,” Beckett said. “We’re day to day evaluating. Both Brady and Cardri will see snaps in different kinds of ways, and they both bring different things to the table. We do different things with both of them.”
Duncan had a lot of big plays for the team last season, while Wideman didn’t play for the team last season. Still, Beckett has seen Wideman make a tremendous amount of progress since last spring.
“I think Brady, to have not played last year, has really come a long way,” Beckett said. “He spent time. He’s taken a lot of extra time during summer to work. I think he’s progressed. In the spring, he took some snaps and all he saw was it seemed like 11 people running at him. It all ran together to him. He’s a really good baseball player and he’s got a good arm. It was just a matter of adapting. Throwing a football is a little different. I definitely think he’s matured and come a long way.”
Ultimately, Beckett sees two good quarterbacks who had different styles of play.
“Cardri has a lot of playmaking savvy, a love for the game and does well with the ball in his hands and in space,” Beckett said. “Brady’s probably a game manager and Cardri is a playmaker, two different elements.”
Beckett said the offense features a lot of new faces this season, but he has seen them get better.
“We looked at it just this week,” he said. “About six or seven of the 11 didn’t even play last year, so there are a lot of new guys. Four of the five offensive linemen are new. So, obviously we have a long way to go. I do think we’ve progressed. I definitely think we’ve progressed; now, how far? I don’t know that. We’ll see. I think we have a ‘want to,’ I think they have a like for the game here. We’re going to see how physical we are. In 2 and 1A, when you’re without a whole lot of numbers, there’s just so many days you’re going to be able to find out until you get to the ballgame. I’ve thrown probably what has seemed a lot at them, but we’ve kind of gone two plays a day.”
Both quarterbacks should have a strong receiving corps to help them guide the offense.
“Deshawn Garrett has got to really help us catching the ball,” Beckett said. “Andrew Pitts is hurt; he’s had MCL surgery on his knee. Kenyatta Brown is playing there. Kenyatta definitely can be a spot playmaker. Cedric McKenzie has had a pretty good summer and did pretty well in the passing camps—again, a lot of new stuff thrown at him. Colby Wheeler did a lot of mission work and he was gone a lot of the summer, just some really good things. He’s really playing catch-up in a lot of ways. He’s kind of a possession receiver, and I think when he totally grasps the offense he’ll run a pretty good route.”
Beckett was forthright in admitting Winterboro will rely heavily on a ground game on offense, but also stressed the importance of being able to turn to an effective passing game.
“I always thought, philosophy-wise, I want to be able to effectively throw the football when you have to at a good percentage of the time and it not be over and be able to keep people off-balance and be able to stretch the field—not just vertically but horizontally, make people cover the entire field,” Beckett said. “I think that opens up the running game. I would expect us to be a run-first team, which is totally opposite of what my team was last year.”