MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

June 1, 2014

Spring football wrap

Examining the Roughers

Rafe Watkins got through his first spring football session after coming over from a successful run at Guthrie. A unit-to-unit look follows:

Quarterback: Quintahj Cherry has two years of starting experience but was out some of spring ball with an ankle injury. Mikey Rodriguez is his backup. Both are having to adapt to a run-oriented attack in Rafe Watkins’ first squad at Muskogee: “We’re still working on some mechanics We won’t throw as much but we’ll toss it 10-15 times a game. We need to be 10-of-15, 9-of-12 and right now we’re not close to that. We’ll get there,” Watkins said.

Running backs: Certainly one of the deepest parts of the squad. Jacouri Freeman has impressed through spring ball. Cantrell Ashley and Molizah Gilbert are also big physical type runners who have had good moments. With 125-pound Tyriq Beasley, it gives Muskogee a quicker, explosive alternative.

Wide receiver: James Buckhanan had to go at running back some last year. He’ll be exclusively at wide receiver.

Offensive line: Adonis Cole at left tackle, Zane Rasmussen at left guard, Jacolby Anderson at right guard and Logan Stovall at center return as starters and Watkins and staff have tried to shape  a mentality of a defensive lineman among them.  “I’ve been proud of them,” said Watkins. “We’ve asked them to go from being a predominant passing team to really trying to get down and dirty with it. So far, so good. Our defense held its own with us but as practice wore on, the OL tended to wear them down.” Anderson’s pancake block ability this spring was duly noted by his head coach. “He’s had a good spring,” Watkins said.

Watkins’ son Hunter along with Bryer Eaton are the leading candidates at the right tackle spot. Hunter Watkins was a tight end at Guthrie.

Defensive line: Watkins is high on Roderick Kirby, a 291-pound lineman that required double and triple teams in ones versus ones. “We’re not cutting him but to stand up and block him, there’s no two who were able to do that well.” Josh Medrano, who has excelled at defensive tackle, will likely be a guy on the move depending on the situation presented.

Linebackers: Tramal Ivy and Ty-Chris Beasley were the top two playmakers and their graduation has left the biggest gap. “We’ve got to get better linebacker play that we’ve been getting,” Watkins said.

Secondary: Buckhanan, Tavian Davis and Darion McNac have impressed. Kamren Curl “had a pretty good spring. He’s just a sophomore but I think he’s got a chance to be special,” Watkins said.

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