Five questions for Coach Alexander following spring practice, team camp
Broken Arrow Tigers football coach David Alexander discusses what he learned about his football team following spring practices and three days of team camp.
What did you learn about this team that has you optimistic about the Tigers repeating their state champion run?
We’re going to be a big, physical team on both sides of the football. We’re blessed with a lot of big guys. You can’t coach size and you can’t coach speed. We’re going to be really big. After watching team camp, that’s going to translate to Friday nights next season. We also have quite a bit of depth at several of the skill positions. We have three or four guys that we can hand the football to that in some years any one of them could have been the starting tailback. We have quite a bit of depth at corner, which is surprising for us because we’ve never had a lot of competition there.
What does the quarterback situation look like heading into fall?
It’s still up in the air. Both Seth Dodd and Jake Raines are going to be juniors, so they had an opportunity to see what it takes to win last year. They both have a little ways to go in being ready but they are both fantastic kids, who grew up here. They both bring a little different aspect to the game. We’ll go through the summer and split time with them and see how comes out. We have a young kid, Griffin Stieber, who’s intriguing. He shows quite a bit of mental toughness for a young guy. Whoever wins the job is going to have to handle the offense, get everyone lined up and take care of the football. It’s been a revolving door for us every year with a new guy, so whether it’s one of the juniors or the sophomore, we’ll know that we will have a guy for the next couple of years. This will be a good year to come in and be a starting quarterback because we’re going to have some guys to hand the football to and a couple of guys at receiver who have experience. We won’t have to put a ton on the shoulders of the quarterback early. We can build and go as the season progresses.
Will this offensive line be as dominant as last year’s group?
We think it’s got a chance to be even more dominate. You have two returning guys back in Trevor Burkhartzmeyer and Andrew Raym, and I don’t know the exact numbers, but Raym probably started 37, 38 games and Burkhartzmeyer probably started 24, 25 games. Those are big numbers for high school guys. You just don’t see that very often. Our right guard will be a kid that weighs 300 to 305 pounds in Ryan Chapman. Left guard is going to be Adam Yancey and he’s 280 pounds. Got a little battle going on at left tackle. A guy that played quite a bit for us last year, Kaleb Gambill, we move to tight end and he’s 6’4”, 240, 245 pound. We get off the bus we’re going to look good. I hope we play as good as we look.
How will your defensive front seven stack up after graduating several players who will be playing football at the next level?
Defensive line wise is going to be just as good. It’s hard to replace DeMeco Roland and the destruction and disruption he caused. Jaylen Moss needs to be that guy. He’s 6’4” and explosive off the football. Andrew Raym will be quite a bit of defensive tackle. We’re going to do it early when it’s hot and get him in shape. He did it a lot at team camp and looked fantastic. Parker Darnell may have had as good a team camp as anybody on the team at defensive end. The second day, I bet he had six sacks against some really good teams.
Did you have some players that stepped up as far as guys that can be difference makers?
Yes. The people that popped out to me: Darryan Moss at linebacker, going to be a junior. I think he’s going to be a difference maker. He has a chance to have a fantastic season. He’s big and runs really well. A couple of young guys: Maurion Horn is supremely talented and is going to be a huge difference maker whether it’s going to be at running back, at corner or maybe both. He’s a guy who’s been off the radar that is going to have huge impact on our season. Corey Williams had a fantastic team camp. He’ll be a guy you’ll see at running back and corner. Our bell cow will probably be KeJuan Tolbert. He set all kinds of records for us in the weight room this winter. I told him he doesn’t have to worry about getting any bigger or any stronger, he just needs to be ready to play 100 plays on Friday night. KeJuan is a captain. He’s a leader. He’s a stud.