PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

August 14, 2013

Coleman's Thursday football talking points

PORT ARTHUR — Some things to talk about while I wonder when BISD will do the right thing and name it Jerry LeVias Stadium already…

1) Coaching trees changes

Last year, Port Neches-Groves lost offensive coordinator Jared Wingfield to a job at Mabank. Wingfield was one of a number of area coaches moving on to different situations in the past year. Let’s check in on some of them to see how they’re doing.

Wingfield went 1-9 and 0-5 in District 15-3A with the Panthers. He hopes to make a jump this season and appears primed to do so, as the district features no teams that made it past bidistrict last season and his school has the biggest enrollment in the district.

Former East Chambers head coach Tony Valastro went 2-18 in two seasons at Galveston Ball, resigning after the season. He was replaced by former NFL runner Kimble Anders at Ball before moving over to Columbus as the head coach.

Former West Brook boss Craig Stump took over at Atascocita last season. Stump had a 5-5 record and a 3-5 mark in district play, which was pretty good given he plays in one of the toughest districts in Class 5A. This season will be no different as Westfield looks to make another run at the regional finals.

One last one, tangentially connected to the area. Port Arthur Memorial area playoff foe Clear Springs saw its head coach Clint Hartman leave for his alma mater, San Antonio East Central, after amassing a 40-18 record in five seasons with the Falcons. He’s replaced by defensive coordinator Paul Maldonado.

2) Nederland practices game situations

With one minute, 15 seconds on the clock, the Nederland Bulldogs raced down the field. Quarterback Preston White completed an out pass to Colton Kimler down the sideline, stopping the clock.

Then, he hit Trey Richardson on a post for a long game, finally setting up about 12 yards from the end zone. Three plays later, the Bulldogs faced fourth-and-10 with 13 seconds left. White found Sage Seay on his outside shoulder in the end zone for the score.

That wasn’t the transcript of a game from last year. That was the end of practice on Tuesday.

Of the three teams I’ve covered this fall, every one practices differently. They’re all doing the same drills, running, passing, tackling and all that. But, how they differ is pretty fascinating. For instance, I haven’t seen either Memorial or PN-G go into game mode with the clock running and assistant coaches acting like referees. That doesn’t mean they don’t do it, just that I haven’t seen it.

For Nederland, the work in situational drills like that is meant to move the team along and prepare for actual games.

“You try to make them game ready,” Nederland head coach Larry Neumann said. “You don’t want them to panic when those situations happen. I think we’ve been pretty clean, too, when we are doing it. We do some of this in the spring, so they’re pretty far ahead on knowing how to work in situations.”

3) Spotlight on Memorial’s Casey Williams

After starting 26 games in two seasons for the Port Arthur Memorial football team, the Titans will be without center Toan Nguyen this year.

Nguyen leaves big shoes to fill along the offensive line, but his replacement, Casey Williams, is doing a great job of that so far.

Williams got a late start on working his way in the lineup, but has steadily improved throughout the offseason and become one of the team’s anchors along the middle.

“He didn’t have athletic period last year,” Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison said. “He moved in to the period in January and he was a little behind. But, he worked and put the extra work in beyond what we asked him to do to try and catch up. He’s a high-character kid and he’s very reliable. He’s a true team player.”

In a spread offense, the snap from center can be vitally important. One bad snap can ruin a drive, so it’d be natural for Harrison to have some anxiety about a new center. However, Harrison says he feels just fine with Williams right now.

“We put him through a pretty good little boot camp, ” Harrison said. “He responded to that well. I feel pretty good about him. I don’t think he’ll get rattled. Once he gets into that first ballgame and gets a little contact, he’ll be fine.”

David Coleman is a sportswriter for the Port Arthur News. He can be emailed at dcoleman@panews.com and found on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.

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