The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Most every decision and competition has played out already during Port Arthur Memorial’s spring practices. Friday will be all about going out with a bang.
Memorial’s explosive offense will get to test itself against a new defensive scheme in the annual spring game at Memorial Stadium Friday at 7 p.m.
After 18 practices,, Friday’s game will cap the first set of the 2013 season for Memorial. Most of the evaluations have already been done by the coaching staff, as questions about playing time have been answered heading into the summer.
That means Friday will be about preparation, as the Titans scrimmage each other under the lights. Coaches will get a chance to call in plays from the sideline, make sure substitution packages go smoothly and all the other gameday things that are important to practice before real games hit.
What can you expect to see from this year’s Titans squad?
First up, the offense looks to continue a trend under head coach Kenny Harrison of breaking off big plays by the dozen. Senior receiver Roderic Rucker leads the offense again this season. Rucker, who recently picked up an offer from the University of Houston and is also drawing interest from Baylor and Texas Tech, led Memorial with 757 yards and 11 TDs last season.
He’s joined by returning starter Albert Jacobs in what could be a deep receiving corps. Jacobs caught 34 passes for 499 yards and three TDs last season.
Those receivers will have a new quarterback throwing them the ball, as senior Tayylor Labrie seems to have locked down the top spot in Memorial’s depth chart. Labrie has a big arm and should open up the field for some big plays, like when he closed out practice on Tuesday’s with a deep bomb to Jacobs.
In the backfield, Memorial will feature a pair of young running backs, along with a veteran presence. Sophomore Kameron Martin, who has also received plenty of recruiting attention already, rushed for 308 yards and four TDs as a freshman last season.
He’ll be joined by Corey Dauphine, a talented junior who has plenty of explosiveness in a one-cut system. Dauphine was set to see a bigger role last year before an injury sidelined him for much of the regular season. The other running back that has emerged is senior Ransom Howard, who played sparingly last season, but should be in a deep rotation of backs next year.
Memorial’s defense has faced a little bit of turnover, with Harrison bringing in a new defensive coordinator in Cody Haug. With him, the Titans also will get a new defensive scheme, as they transition to a 3-4 look.
That allows standout defensive ends Meldric and Melbroderick Matthews to stand up and play outside linebacker. Melbrodrick Matthews has taken to his position with relish, becoming a great force along the edge for the Titans.
He joins a couple of new faces making homes on defense. Selah Fontenot started on the offensive line last season, but his heart resided with the defense. After Memorial switched to the 3-4 look, he’s getting his chance, as Fontenot has moved over to anchor one of the defensive end positions.
As a five-technique, Fontenot could bring a collection of skills to the field, including being solid at the point of attack against the run, but also pushing the pocket on the pass.
If you’re looking for a surprise of camp so far, it might be Torian Lott at cornerback. Lott, who has been competing for the starting quarterback spot with Labrie, has owned one of Memorial’s starting cornerback spots so far. The versatile player will likely be Labrie’s backup at QB, but brings both a fearlessness and a swagger to the secondary.
Both of those are good assets in a lockdown corner and it appears Lott may be turning into one for the Titans.
There are still some questions to sort out, like how will offensive linemen Vernon Samuels and Dekovin Antoine look once they return from minor injuries in the summer. But, for the most part, Memorial has its roster questions answered.
Friday, then, will be about preparation and getting started on that march to the playoffs this fall.