Coaches try to put puzzle together during spring
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 30, 2004 -- Brad Turner looks at the depth chart taking up the wall of his office and sees it as a big jigsaw puzzle ... without an absolute solution.

The Sulphur Springs High School head football coach believes the 18 days of spring training the Wildcats are currently undergoing will help coaches come up with the best possible fit.

"If you look at that board, it's just a big jigsaw puzzle, and there's really no solution to it," Turner said. "There are different places for the pieces to fit, and it's our job to find the best way to put it together that will make our team the best. If it means playing a kid on this side of the ball or the other side of the ball or moving positions, we've got to find the best fit that will make our team the best. There is no perfect solution. It's just trial-and-error, and hopefully we'll make the right decisions."

In looking at the board, Turner pinpoints a couple of areas where those decisions will be critical, namely quarterback and defensive line. And there is a common name in both areas: Tremayne Jones.

Jones, the back-up quarterback on varsity the last two years, is being showcased at the speed end on defense, the same spot played last year by Kedaron Franklin. So far, he has been impressive.

"Tremayne Jones has had a tremendous week in his new role on that side of the ball," Turner said. We have other defensive linemen stepping up. Mitchell Smith and Travis Edmond are the other two starters right now. Brice Jackson, John Day and two sophomores, K.C. Smith and Colt Hooten, are both battling for a spot. Kris Dial is recovering from knee surgery, and he'll be in the mix when fall comes when hopefully he'll be healthy."

Edmond was a starting offensive lineman last year, but is being evaluated at defensive end. Jonathan Hall and Jermaine Wright are a couple of running backs who are also being converted to defense.

The coaches were able to move them because of the play so far this spring of running backs Chris Person and Steffon Petty. Last year's starter, Jared Ramey, is sitting out spring practice as he rehabs a surgical knee.

Putting Hall and Wright on defense boosts the unit's overall speed. Along with cornerback Keelan Green and free safety Keenan Clayton, the foursome made up the school's sprint relay for much of this year's track season.

"We want our defense to be good for our team to be good," Turner said. "We're trying to make our defense as fast as possible. We're trying to get as much speed over there as possible."

Offensively, Jones is in the mix at quarterback along with Josh Riley and Logan Turner, who were the JV and freshman quarterbacks, respectively, last season. Someone will have to replace the record-setting duo of quarterback Ryan Henry and receiver Kendall Wright. Those are the frontrunners for the signal-caller's job.

Of course, Turner cautions, everything could change -- and some things will definitely change -- by the end of the spring practice, which culminates May 15 with the intrasquad game.

"We evaluate every day," the head coach said. "We go over the practice tape every day as a staff, and we change that board every day. Hopefully by the end of spring training, we'll have an idea of who can help us and who needs a year on the JV. Those are things we evaluate every day."

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