The Claiborne High School Bulldogs are entering the 2016 season with yet another new head coach. Nathan Medlin has picked his staff and they are now ready to build a program starting with hard practices and a camp where the players were encouraged to ignore their cell phones to build team chemistry.
Coming into the football camp Medlin asked for the cell phones and although they complained at first they understood it fully by the camp’s end. Senior lineman Matthew Walker spoke of the ordeal of being without a cell phone for three days, “I think it was a great move by coach Medlin and we have become closer as a team.”
That comment was also agreed with by Austin Nantz, “Taking our phones was a good idea and it worked. We are more of a team now than last season.”
With the team more united than ever Coach Medlin can continue to develop depth. Medlin spoke of his team’s strengths and weaknesses, “I think our strength is team.” When asked to explain he added, “This team is now playing for each other; practicing hard for the man beside him.”
The weakness of the team according to Medlin is and has always been depth. He is happy with the first team but their backups are a work in progress. Medlin and his staff believes the talent is there but they need to be refined and ready to step in as needed.
Medlin believes the offensive and defensive lines are in good shape and likely have the most capable backups. The line features Matt Walker, Zach Fejeron, JJ Helderman, Blake Hill, Stephen Smith and Shane Smart.
The defensive linemen will be backed up by a capable linebacker group featuring Isaiah Cloud and Junior Childress and in the secondary Claiborne has capable athletes in position with Jake Butler, Bryce Laws and many others. The secondary has many great young athletes.
Offensively, Ty Stone will lead the team from under center and his play has been explained as lights out. Evan Poore will be his backup. The thunder and lightning running attack will feature Jake Butler and Isaiah Cloud. The backs compliment each other as Butler is expected to continue slashing through the defense and Cloud is expected to be a north/south runner. The receiving group once again will be led by Bryce Laws and Hunter Rosenbalm.
Overall, almost everyone on the roster will likely see playing time and coach Medlin asks each player to be ready to go.
Medlin didn’t state that success will be measured in numbers of wins and losses but instead it will be measured by the effort that is shown on each play and how together this 2016 Bulldogs team plays.
Medlin added, “I have mentioned a few players but we will count on every player at some point this season. All the players have been practicing hard and the coaching staff would like to tell them to practice and work hard as many positions are still up for grabs.”
Their first test will be at Union County on the road Aug. 26. They will make their first appearance at home against Chuckey-Doak Sept. 2.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.