Spartans off to a good start
Fri. August 02, 2013 at 9:57 p.m. | By Jason Queen
Central Davidson offensive linemen work on blocking schemes during practice Friday morning. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)
Winning six games, finishing third in your conference and winning a state playoff game is enough to get any program headed in the right direction.
For new Central Davidson football coach Chad Tedder, things are certainly looking good so far.
After two official days of practice, Tedder — replacing the retired Brad Morton after serving as defensive coordinator last season — is extremely pleased with the potential he sees in the Spartans.
And he sees a lot, literally. “We’ve got a good turnout this year,” Tedder beamed. “According to all the people I’ve talked to, this is one of the largest teams, as far as numbers and size-wise, that Central’s had in a long, long time.
“So we’re excited. The kids are working hard, we had a good camp this past week, and we’ve had two great days of official practice.”
Tedder will move over to the offensive side of the ball, and he talked long-time defensive coach Jay Lineberry to end his temporary hiatus from the gridiron and coach the defense. He said the Spartans will stick with the double-wing offense that piled up so many rushing yards the past two seasons, although they will have to do it with some new faces.
Gone is wing-back Saig Skeen, who piled up nearly 2,400 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground last season. Gone is quarterback Nathan Dennis, whose ball skill and lead blocking added to the confusion and trickery the double-wing specializes in. And gone are several members of the offensive line who, led by Jake Comer, often created holes big enough to drive a tractor-trailer through.
But, Tedder is not concerned with who is not in uniform this fall. He believes in what has turned the Spartans into a contender the past two years, and has confidence in the players who hope to fill the void on the offense. Central has 78 players out so far between the varsity and JV, and Tedder said they are physically bigger and stronger than they have been in recent years.
He will count on Chris Moore to step in at quarterback. Moore was a key member of the Spartans’ defense last season, and he saw some action at quarterback when Dennis was injured. Desmond Mabe, who played fullback last season, will slide to one of the wings. Mabe ran for 460 yards and four TDs last season, but his workload will increase tremendously.
“It’s been good to us the last couple of years, and I know we’re missing some horses that really made it go,” Tedder said. “But with this system, instead of rebuilding, we’re gonna try to reload.”
Tedder is extremely high on fullback Thayer Bates, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound bruiser who will be a tough lead blocker and can grind out tough yards between the tackles. The other wing spot is up for grabs between three players, providing an interesting battle for the early practices.
Central is moving up to the 3-A Mid-Piedmont Conference, outgrowing the 2-A Central Carolina Conference. That will give Ledford another county team in the league, and it will present some different challenges for the Spartans. But, optimism is high right now at Central after its recent run of success, and Tedder hopes the Spartans are building toward a long stretch of winning.
“Just the success itself has brought out the kids,” he added. “The kids believe in the system we run, and they got a year to see what I believe in defensively.
“The kids like it. A lot of kids see we can make it fun, make it enjoyable, and make it a good experience. The kids have put a lot of work in in the spring, and in the summer we had about 50 kids out every day for workouts.”
Central opens the season at West Stokes on Aug. 23.
Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.