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Physicality a key to Redskins’ success

| August 19, 2014

LE1_8664_LCOSHOCTON – Competition in the East Central Ohio League can be a grueling and physically demanding endeavor and Coshocton High School football coach Jim Woodrum is making sure his charges are ready for the challenge.

With a squad of 44 players in the top three grades, he is finding plenty of worthy candidates.

“We’re wanting to get back to being really physical this year,” Woodrum said. “That’s our goal. We have a big, strong offensive line and we want to use that to expose people and our seniors are doing a good job of taking up leadership roles even though there are only 10 of them.”

“I’ve been pretty pleased,” added Woodrum, now in his fifth season as head coach. They’ve been working really hard and it’s a great group of kids. We have accomplished a lot and we’re looking to gain back some respect.”

Woodrum said that since their camp began at the end of July, the team has become sound in its base offense and defense and has spent recent practice days working on becoming a well-rounded squad.

“It’s always a work in progress but I believe that we are well ahead of the game at this point than we were last year,” he said. “We pretty much have our rotation down and everybody here is going to get an opportunity. As we go forward, we will see who steps up and takes advantage of their opportunities. There is a lot of competition in practice and with the numbers we have that is only going to help as the season progresses.”

Woodrum is especially excited about the development of his offensive and defensive line but also feels the Redskins will have a very complementary set of skill players and feels the team is poised to improve on back-to-back 2-8 seasons.

Starting in the trenches will be junior Cameron Redman at center with senior Cody Tarman and junior Ethan Woodie at the guards and senior Nathan Leopard and Brody Langley at tackle.

With that starting group, Redman is the “little” guy at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds while the rest average around 235 pounds.

Junior Ray Durham will also see action at guard while rotating at tackle will be seniors Devan Cutshall and J.T. Rogers. Woodrum added that senior Joe Batchelor’s versatility could help the Redskins at any one of the lineman positions.

Also hoping to see action up front are seniors Harley Powers, juniors Matt Stephens, Blake Erman, Tanner Howell, and sophomores Jonathan Eberwine, Chris Addy, Chase Bishop, Billy Merck, Garrett Foster, Brent Bordenkircher and Chase McHenry.

“We’re going to lean on those guys early,” Woodrum said.

A trio of seniors will man the starting backfield positions. Dom Johns will provide a true power runner as he switches from quarterback to fullback while the halfbacks in Coshocton’s patented Wing-T offense will be Donald Stiteler and Gavin Gray.

Quarterbacking the team is sophomore Andrew Mason with his back-up being junior Miles Hardesty. Others who will see playing time in the backfield are senior Spencer McCrea, junior Christian Redman and sophomore Zach Michael.

Woodrum also won’t rule out backfield hopefuls juniors Tristyn Van Atta and Brennen Alverson, and sophomores Jake Fortney and Kobie Means.

Tight ends will be a pair of juniors in Tanner Shaw and Jeremy Bresciani.

Competing at split end are seniors Camron Williams and Ricky Roghella, juniors Tanner Ward, Austin Spitzer and Marcus Carroll, and sophomores Ashton Jarvis, Dallas Griffiths, Issiah Newhouse and Syler Will.

“I really think we have a great balance between power and speed and we’re relying on the o-line to get the running game going, but I also believe we will be able to throw the ball as well,” Woodrum said. “We’re very excited about our potential.”

Defensively, the tackles will be Tarman and Camron Redman with Shaw and Rodgers at the ends. They will be backed up by Means and Carkin.

Outside linebackers are Griffiths and Christian Redman with Johns and Bresciani on the inside. Providing depth at the LB positions are Alverson, Fortney, Carkin, Will, Means and Foster.

Defensive backs will include Stiteler, McCrea, Michaels and Hardesty with the rotation also to include Williams, Roghella, Mason, Van Atta, Jarvis, Spitzer, Ward, Carroll and Newhouse.

Johns will perform kicking duties, Means will punt and Camron Redman will be the long snapper.

“What excites me most is that we’ve gotten back to where we have tremendous competition in practice and kids are really pushing each other,” Woodrum said. “They know they can’t slack off because if they do they are in trouble. Competition is a great thing and we’re seeing a lot of it this year.”

Woodrum also cannot underestimate the power of the sophomore class, which went unbeaten last year as freshmen.

Coach Woodrum also acknowledges that there are areas of concern.

“As far as a kicking game, we didn’t have a very good one last year and that’s a concern of mine,” he said. “I coached special teams for 15 years and I never felt that we were at the point where we had it down completely. I feel we need to improve in that area. I’m also concerned about how we’re going to tackle. A lot of things go through your mind before you actually see your kids in action. We just know we can’t look ahead. We have too many good football teams on our schedule to do that.”

The Redskins open the season on Friday, Aug. 29, at Stewart Field, hosting Cambridge.

Non-league foes include Tuscarawas Valley, West Holmes, New Lexington and Danville.

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