Friday, May 16, 2008

Comer to face TCCHS in spring game today

Heather Baggett

SYLACAUGA – The football team at B.B. Comer High School is winding down its first spring with new head coach Tripp Henderson today.

The Tigers have been busy for the past couple of weeks, getting used to a new coach and a new offensive system. Fans wanting to get a sneak peek of the 2008 Tigers will have that chance tonight when Comer travels up to Howell’s Cove to face Talladega County Central and Carver of Birmingham in a spring jamboree.

Henderson said practice has gone well for the Tigers this spring. In fact it was better than he expected.

“I think they’ve responded real well,” he said during practice on Thursday. “I’ve been proud of their attitudes throughout the spring. That was the biggest thing I was worried about. I knew they could learn what we were trying to teach ‘em, but I wanted to see how they reacted to it. I think they’ve had really good attitudes throughout the spring.

“They’ve been positive. We’ve put them in some adverse situations to see how they’d respond to it and they’ve come through. I think they’re ready to win. They’re definitely tired of losing.”

The Tigers finished the 2007 season with a record of 2-8 after going winless in 2006. Despite a losing record for the past few years, Henderson said more kids than expected showed up for spring practice.

“We’ve probably, actually have a few more than I expected,” he said. “I had asked around and talked to a few people and they told me low-20s to mid-20s and I think we’ve averaged during the spring about 33 here everyday. That’s a few more than I expected, but coming from the size school I was at, this is about what we dealt with.”

Henderson said his main focus this spring was not so much on offensive and defensive schemes as it was on the attitudes of the players.

“The biggest thing is changing attitudes, getting them to believe in themselves, that they can win,” he said. “Showing them that they can do things right and when they do ‘em right they work. Obviously learning the basics of our offense and our defense. We’re not doing anything real fancy right now; we’re just trying to get them to learn the real basics.

“They’ve done a good job of picking it up. They’re actually ahead of where I expected ‘em to be at this point. They’ve done more than I expected ‘em to this spring.”

Comer was known for running the wishbone in 2007, but fans will see a different offense this fall. However the Tigers will still run the ball.

“Our offense is based out of the old single-wing,” Henderson said. “It’s a lot like what Florida is doing. It’s a lot like what West Virginia’s doing. We use formations to spread people out, but we’re still a run-oriented team. I mean we do throw it, but we’re a run-oriented team.”

The new coach, who came to Comer from Glenwood School in Phenix City, said the players have done well learning the new system.

“I think it’s something that the kids have enjoyed,” Henderson said. “It’s something different that nobody else does and I think they’ve kind of started taking some pride in that.”

The spring game tonight at Alumni Field will wrap up practice for both Comer and TC Central. Games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.


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