The Bryant Hornets football team will wrap up spring practice on Wednesday with a final day in pads including scrimmaging.
Defensive coordinator Steve Griffith and offensive coordinator Lance Parker were asked to assess the spring on their respective sides of the ball.
Griffith: “Spring ball has become an opportunity for us to evaluate where some of the guys are. Obviously, we’ve got some shoes to fill from last year. Guys are taking this chance to step up. I usually tell the guys, ‘You know I would love to erase a few names in pencil and put them in ink before we go into summer and that’s the opportunity you have here in spring ball.’
“As we went into spring, we had some guys back in the d-line and we felt solid about some of those guys. And we felt like we had two or three others. I think we’ve got five or six guys that are ready to play on Friday night. We’d like to get to eight. So we’re hoping, over the summer, a couple more guys will come on and we’ll see in August.
“Linebacker-wise, we lost a couple of starters last year. We feel very solid with the first three. We’re still looking to develop depth behind those guys. We’ve made some moves and we’ll probably make a few more over the summer to try to solidify some of the depth.
“We lost our whole secondary but we feel right now that we’ve got four corners that have really stepped up. They’re all battling for an opportunity to get on the football field. Same thing with four safeties. We’ve had a couple of sophomores step in and another young man that was hurt last year that’s come back. So we’ve got four guys there that are fighting it out. We’ll be able to get two that can be on the field or it could be just a rotation or something, same thing at corner.
“We’ve got some depth at some spots. We got some questions answered. But we’ve still got a few questions. We’ve got a few 7-on-7’s and some team camps this summer. And, of course, August practice — that’s a lot of practice in August.
“We feel like by the time we get to Benton, we’ll be able to put 11 guys out there and then have some depth to roll in and out that’ll give us a chance to be competitive defensively like we have been for quite a few years.”
Parker: “We felt pretty good about the skill positions going into the spring. I think the offensive line really surprised us. They’ve made a lot of strides in just a few weeks. They answered some questions for us.
“We wanted to figure out what the offensive line could do. Can we be pullers? Do we need to be more zone heavy? Are we going to be able to knock anybody off the ball? Anytime you’re trying to get a strategy going for what you’re going to do offensively, it starts with the offensive line.
“They showed us that they have some versatility. We don’t have to get rid of schemes we used in the past. We’ve had some athletic linemen the last couple of years. These guys have shown that they can do those things. So we’re happy.”
“We’re going to break in a new quarterback. Gunnar (Burks) had some work last year, spot playing but, right now, he’s going to be responsible for most of the snaps. We tried to develop DeAmonte (Terry) throwing some. We worked him a lot at quarterback. He’s not going to be an 80-snap a game quarterback but we do want to develop him as a thrower so we can use that. We’re trying to keep that running element at the quarterback position and we’re trying to make sure we’ve got more than one guy that can do those schemes. Beaux (Bonvillain) did a good job coming in and being what we would consider a traditional quarterback, managing games.
“I feel good about the progress of some of the guys that got in with — we try to do a first and second group then the third group, we had some young guys step up.
“But we’re not going to know until that first game, where we are. We hit each other but it’s all relative to how good someone else is. We’ll see throughout the summer with the team camps, how we fare against other people.”
The Hornets will open the season with the annual Salt Bowl against Benton at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock on Sept. 4. A pre-season scrimmage against Pulaski Academy will be held Aug. 25 at Bryant Stadium.