Eagles 'further along on offense' than expected
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

August 17, 2004 - COMO - The Como-Pickton Eagles hit the ground running Saturday in their first controlled three-team scrimmage of the year against the Chisum Mustangs and the Union Hill Bulldogs at Heflin Field.

Second-year coach Joe Ryzman said he was pleased with the way his team performed on both sides of the ball.

"We are further along than we were last year in our offense. The execution was good, and there was very few mental mistakes," Ryzman said. "Defensively, we got after it which is what our kids do best."

Ryzman said work still needs to be done before their final scrimmage against the Cumby Trojans Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The scrimmage was originally scheduled in Cumby but after renovations to the football field, the coaches decided to move the scrimmage to Como, and the teams could engage in one or two full quarters in final preparation for Zero Week action for both schools.

"I feel like offensively we need to continue to work on our execution and eliminate all the mistakes we did make. There were not many for a first scrimmage, but we still have some mistakes," Ryzman said. "Going into practice this week we are going to look to strengthen our passing game more and eliminate our mistakes, but I was very pleased with our running game."

Ryzman said he believes on defense the team needs to work on tackling drills and working on better pursuit angles during practice this week.

Tyrin Porter and Ray Hayden looked strong during the scrimmage and impressed Ryzman with the way both of them handled the duties at running back.

"I don't see it being a running back battle but a running back combination. Both of those athletes will play both ways. As of right now, I have Porter as my No. 1 back and Hayden as my No. 2 back, but saying that, I see both of them running the football this year," Ryzman said.

With their first game in two weeks against the Rivercrest Rebels at Heflin Field, Ryzman is looking for the team to improve on special teams when the face Cumby Friday night.

"I look for us to become a more solid football team, and work on special teams to get ready for our first week of real play," Ryzman said.

One area Ryzman said the team is looking to improve on this year is the running game with Porter, Hayden, and senior FB/LB John Sullivan, after struggling with it last season.

Ryzman said his quarterback Josh Biggerstaff looked impressive in the scrimmage in the passing game as well as the running game.

"We are not focusing on the passing game as much as we did last year, because the priority coming in this year was to establish a running game something we had difficulty doing last year," Ryzman said. "With that being said, Biggerstaff didn't throw the ball as much, but when he did he throw it, he did it very well, and when he ran the ball, he ran it well."

With 16 athletes on the varsity roster, Ryzman said some of the players had bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries have occurred so far in practices during preseason workouts.

"I felt very optimistic about what our kids can do this season, and also that we didn't have any serious injuries, which is good given that we don't have a lot of depth this season," Ryzman said.

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