The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets are more than halfway through their slate of spring practices and coach Zach Massengill said he’s pleased with what he’s seen.
“I feel really good. Our numbers have been mid-20s and up on most days. Last week we got our defense installed and this week we’ve got most of our offense installed, the guys are picking it up real well,” Massengill said. “I like their attitude and their effort, we’re getting good work done.”
MHS will be continuing their spring workouts next week and it all wraps up with a scrimmage at Bradner Stadium on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
“It will be a controlled practice more than likely. We’ve got a lot of older kids and a lot of younger kids and we don’t want to have a bunch of mismatches. We want to keep those young guys out and excited,” he said. “We’ve invited all the candidates out and we’re going to introduce them, we’ll have a silent auction and a cake sale, that kind of stuff. Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout, it’s a chance to introduce all the middle school guys and it should be a good atmosphere for Middlesboro football.”
Work this week has centered around getting a brand new offense installed. The Jackets figure to run a multiple offense as they were lined up in everything from the wishbone with two tight ends to a spread formation with one back and four wide receivers with a little bit of I-formation and split-back sets with twin receivers to one side.
“We’re going to have some power packages, some spread packages and a little bit of finesse in there, too. I think it’s going to be good,” Massengill said. “We’ve got a lot of talent and it will let us disperse the ball, but it will also let us line up when we need to and use our big guys to pick up tough yards in the trenches.”
On defense the Jackets appear similar to last season with a base 4-4 look.
“We’re going to be in that base defense with some checks out of it depending on if we’re going against a spread or two tight ends. We’ll manipulate it and move, but overall it’s going to be a base package and we want to play fast and attack out of it,” Massengill added.
A few players had to miss Thursday’s practice, most notably quarterback Major Edwards. But several Yellow Jacket baseball players who plan to be on the team were able to participate and rising senior Tyler Yoakum, who was the backup QB as a sophomore, took snaps along with rising freshman Chase Elliott. Despite this being the first day working with the offense for both, they kept things moving and made the throws they needed to.
Massengill said several players have stood out during the early workouts, but he’s been most impressed by leadership the senior class has shown as a whole.
“I’m really proud of our senior leadership. They’ve done a good job of buying in so far through six practices. They’re leading in a positive way by showing up and working hard and they’re bringing the young guys with them,” the coach added. “We’ve had some bad weather and been in the gym a day or two, but they’ve done a great job of focusing and learning what we want them to do. I’ve been impressed by by their learning curve.”