FOOTBALL: Titans wrap up Morgan’s first camp

Zach Bass has never been on a team that’s missed the UIL postseason either as a player or coach.

“Those are the kind of things I like to hang my hat on,” he said. “Taking what these kids already do well and adding a level of physicality, I think, can bring them to the next level.”

Physicality is the one-word philosophy Bass is bringing to Port Arthur Memorial as its new offensive coordinator, citing the style of play he’s embraced since his days playing at Nederland in the mid-2000s.

At Memorial, physicality up front — where Bass also coaches the offensive line — usually translates into production.

“If you look at the offensive production he’s been involved with at Port Neches with coach [Brandon] Faircloth, I thought it was huge to get a guy who’s been around some pretty successful offenses,” Memorial coach Brian Morgan said. “He brings a good background, some similar thoughts to what I like and so far, we’ve meshed well. To me, it was huge to get a great technical O-line coach at Memorial.”

Bass spent the past three seasons coaching the O-line at PNG after a five-year run at La Porte. While this is his first time as an offensive coordinator, he’s helped organize the run game at La Porte, a former Memorial opponent in District 21-6A before the Titans joined PNG in 22-5A in 2016.

“We’re excited with what we have potential-wise, having coached at La Porte for five years against these guys and then having coached at PNG against these guys,” Bass said. “I’ve always admired the speed and athleticism and the competition here at Port Arthur. Finally having the chance to work with this caliber of athlete and kid, the potential is limitless.”

Bass announced on Facebook he is one of many new faces for Morgan’s first season at the helm, and he’s seen positives from an offense that will finish spring drills with an open scrimmage at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.

“Being that I’m not technically here full-time or anything, you only get to see the kids every so often,” Bass said, asked about his biggest adjustments to the Titans program. “New kids, new faces, new terminology. There’s always a bit of a learning curve, but the beautiful thing is that these kids have shown a propensity to want to do well and want to learn. They ask good questions, and they love to compete.”

Morgan has touted “a lot of learning and a lot of teaching” in a rare spring camp designed to acclimate his players to his system. Morgan was promoted to head coach in March after one season as special teams coordinator and safeties coach in his second stint at the school.

For Wednesday’s scrimmage, he’s looking for the players to simply compete.

“It’s going to be a competitive scrimmage-type situation until we feel like we’ve seen enough,” he said. “If that’s early, that’s early. The most important part is to come out healthy.”

Morgan has been pleased the most with the progress on the defensive line and at running back.

Rising senior Da’Juan McMillan, at 6-feet-2 and 280 pounds, is one of whom Morgan called “top-notch” defensive linemen — a mix of sophomores through seniors this coming season — in the 4-2-5 scheme.

“We’re doing a little bit of things differently, schematically, and technique-wise for him,” Morgan said. “It kind of caters to his skill set. He plays a three-technique. He’s very strong, he’s very powerful. So, his scheme is catering to him more than it has in the past.”

Graduating seniors Elijah Hines and Kobi Martin made almost all of the Titans’ carries from the running back position, but Morgan said upcoming sophomore Brandon Chaney and upcoming junior Jatavian Neal would get most of the carries if Memorial had to play now. Rising senior JaVontae Hopkins will see some time at running back this season, and junior-to-be Kason Williams has been working at that position as well.

Kam Ladia, who’ll be a senior, has seen plenty of reps as the first-string quarterback with Brian Milton in a second-string role.

“With Kam Ladia, he’s got a great arm,” Morgan said. “He can throw it around. He’s a little short of experience playing. That’s his drawback. The backup, Brian Milton, is a calm and collected guy. He operates well. He’s a little better runner than Kam.”

Morgan added Jacob Washington, who’s played safety, will see time at QB as well.

As multiple an offense gets in high school football, Morgan’s goal with the offense is to add looks no defense either has seen from the Titans or can prepare for.

“We’re just trying to add different wrinkles and some different schemes, let those kids do what they do and do it well,” Bass said.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


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