By Ben Johnson
CNHI News Service
TAHLEQUAH – Tahlequah’s 2013 football roster has yet to be finalized. However, there’s little doubt as to which player on that list will shoulder the most responsibility when the Tigers open the 2013 season against Fort Gibson.
Will Carlile will be that guy.
Why? Because he’ll split time with David Dick as Tahlequah’s quarterback while also “quarterbacking” the defense as the Tigers’ free safety.
“Will never seems to get rattled,” Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert said. “That’s important with the two positions that he’s going to play. Free safety is the QB of the defense, so it’s important not to get rattled.”
Given the choice, Carlile – 6-feet tall and 175 pounds – said he’d prefer to dabble on the defensive side of the ball.
“I like defense a lot more,” Carlile said, “just because of hitting people, I guess.”
While Gilbert tagged him as the quarterback of the defense, Carlile said his main objective on defense is to accomplish an individual mission on each play.
“I’m just hoping to do my job,” Carlile said. “If (the other team) throws it my way, I’m going to try and get a pick or knock it down. Or if they throw it to a guy coming my way, I’m going to knock his head off.”
That falls right in line with Gilbert’s assessment of Carlile: very impactful – yet, does it quietly.
“He’s going to make plays, but you’d never know he was there,” Gilbert said. “He goes about his business and doesn’t bring any attention to himself. If he’s going to speak up, everyone in the room is going to listen.”
In addition to splitting time at quarterback and free safety, Carlile could also see time as an offensive specialist. With the Tigers lacking qualified applicants at wide receiver to this point, Carlile could double as a pass-catcher on offense, Gilbert said.
“We are thin at receivers right now,” Gilbert said. “But we do have veteran guys that haven’t necessarily played wide receiver, but they’ve played on Friday nights and they’re familiar with every position on the field.”
After enduring a 1-9 season and finishing seventh out of eight teams in District 5A-4, Carlile said the 2013 season has a brighter outlook.
“I think we have a really good chance [to be good] this year,” Carlile said. “Like, winning six or seven games for sure.”