It’s been a good first few weeks of practice for the Pineville Mountain Lions.
Coach Bart Elam is loading up his team today as they head to Georgetown to spend the rest of the week at camp. They’re working out in full pads and getting all the new starters up to speed on the both sides of the ball.
“We might be five or six off the numbers we usually have — we’ve got 23 kids on the roster right now but you wouldn’t know it. We’re real happy with our ones and our twos and they’re coming along at just about every position,” Elam said. “We’ve got a really good bunch of athletes and we’re excited. It’s a good group of kids.”
From the outside it would appear that Elam’s offense has evolved during his time at Pineville. Early on they used a lot of four receiver sets in the spread but have found success in recent years by using more of an I formation with a tight end. He said those changes have more to with how the personnel line up rather than what they’re trying to accomplish.
With several new and smaller starters along the offensive line, the team may be spreading it out more this upcoming season.
“We’ve always been a spread concept team, that’s kind of what I cut my teeth on. So even when we’ve gone to more of a run game we’ve had multiple formations that still incorporated the spread,” Elam said. “We’re definitely a lot leaner and more athletic up front so we’ll be able to do some different things with our line.”
Sophomore Tucker Woolum started every game at quarterback as a freshman. With that full season of experience he’s ready to do more in both the passing game and running the ball.
“He’s progressing well. We went down to Knox Central for 7-on-7 the other day and honestly, I think he was the best quarterback there,” Elam said. “He’s a smart quarterback, he’s growing every day as far as his reads and progressions go. Sometimes I get to talking about Tucker like he’s a junior or senior, but he’s a sophomore with one year under his belt. Playing last year really helped his confidence.
“Tucker and all the other freshman that played a lot last year are really reaping the rewards of that.”
Joining Woolum in the backfield will be junior running back Brad Fuson, who led the team with 16 rushing touchdowns last season, and junior fullback Robbie Miller. The Lions also return leading receiver Will Adams and have another strong group of freshman competing for playing time at the skill positions.
“We’ve got Tucker coming back at quarterback and Will Adams at receiver. But we’ve also got Bradley Fuson, who was almost a 1,000-yard back last year, and Robbie Miller who played a lot at fullback,” Elam said. “You add the newcomers, the freshmen coming in, and we’re going to be really versatile. We’ll be able to run or pass and that’s what you need to be a good team. You have to be able to take advantage of what the defense is giving you.”
Pineville opens the regular season on Aug. 29 at South Floyd.