Tarpon Springs- May 17, 2018 – One of the most crucial and often overlooked aspects that are responsible for molding a team together and making everything run according to plan behind the scenes is a productive Offensive and Defensive line. How will you run an offense if your Quarter back is 6-feet under from lack of protection? What if you had to solely rely on the secondary of your defense without putting pressure on the opposing offense, giving them all the time in the world to make a decision? In both these situations, rest assured the outcomes won’t be in your team’s favor- lucky for the East Lake Eagles that is one of the last things they have to worry about, despite coming off a neutral 5-5 season record, they have the pieces up front and are able to build on other areas in need of improvement as well. Here’s East Lake’s Head Coach Bob Hudson take on highlighting the strength of this team- the units that make up his respected front lines.
“We’re young offensively but we have a good number of guys, getting them repetitions, gaining some confidence, and putting them in position to make plays. Trying to find our best seven for the fall, we have three guys as of now that have some experience; TE and DE Ryan Rupe was a full time starter last year for us as a junior and will be this year too, sophomore Offensive linemen Blake Norrie and Josh Dupree are a couple others with some play-time under their belts. Defensively, we have six to eight guys rotating, a few have had some decent play time, also some fresh young and old faces. Inside guy and Center, junior Will Womble, senior Carson Kozma bounces in and out for us, Jared Pratt plays defensive end and tackle; so we move around guys according to down and distance- the good thing is we always have a good amount of depth and we’re getting guys opportunities at different positions,” Coach Hudson states.
“These kids have done an outstanding job learning, working butts off, putting in a huge amount of effort and that’s all we can ask for; mastering their skill sets and learning technique. You fail sometimes and you get back up, so we still have a lot of work to do but as coaches we recognize their work ethic. They have the opportunity to be great on both sides, size wise we’ve got a couple 300-punders, a few 240-250+ pounders, so overall size is not an issue, just trying to give as many opportunities to break them in as we can, practice-games, fall camps, and get a lot of reps in the summertime.”
When Coach says these young men have good size, by no means is he stretching the truth- quite the understatement actually. Guys like Will Womble who is a staggering 6’3” 285 pounds, senior guard and tackle Madison Davila at a whopping 6’1” 275 pounds, his tweener talent, TE and DE Ryan Rupe who’s 6’3” and nearly 200 pounds, or 6’ Carson Kozma and 6’3” Jared Pratt, both weighing in around 240; so there’s no misconception that East lake emphatically has some big fellas holding down the unit.
Head Coach Hudson goes on to explain, “They’ve bought into process, I’d say the biggest thing is getting them reps together, spending time together and bonding. We do “Hog night” where once a month, we take our lineman out to dinner, so we definitely take pride in our linemen at East Lake, and constantly tell them the team is only as good as they are- not to put pressure on them but we wouldn’t be a team without their work, and other players rally around them because they understand how important their linemen’s jobs are to their according positions as well; can’t do much without them. Some unfortunate incidents that ended our season last year, so our motto is work, work, work- everyday you have to come in with the mindset that you’ll get better after every practice. We have a lot of eyes on them with our two O-line coaches and two D-line coaches, so as fall comes in we will have the guys we think are going to make the plays for us on Friday nights.”
Vaughan Sixbury, BCP Contributor