Friday, August 13, 2010

SPORTS>>Raiders add some fun to daily routine

Leader sportswriter

Riverview coach Stuart Hill is not too concerned about his players falling into a routine, as long as improvement is part of that routine.

The Raiders coaching staff has done its part in breaking up the monotony of August practices with a free “fun day” on Friday, but Hill believes his players understand the importance of the daily grind.

“The kids know there’s still a lot of hard work ahead of us,” Hill said. “We have to keep that sense of urgency to get better.

That’s our plan right now.”

Week 2 started a little shaky for the Raiders with a lackluster session Monday. But business picked up enough beginning Tuesday that Hill felt comfortable deeming the week an overall success.

“Monday, we struggled with the heat,” Hill said. “But we’re starting toput it all together. The running game has not come along as fast as I wanted it to, but we’re also starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel there.”

The running game is only part of the rebuilding process for the offense. Replacing five empty slots on the line has also been a priority for Hill and the staff.

“There’s not much experience there, but they’re picking up on things,” Hill said. “Their biggest problem is that they’re trying to think too much. When you can’t rely on instinct, you lose some of your aggressiveness.”

With question marks surrounding the running game, Riverview’s receiving corps may play more of a role than it has the first two seasons since the Raiders started the varsity program.

Hill said Jordan Daniels has showed potential, and McKenzie Jones is a running back that will also be used at receiver. Clay
Decker has also shown improvement at receiver.

“We’re still young out there,” Hill said. “There’s not a lot of speed there, but 7-on-7 helped us out.”

As for junior quarterback Josh Roach, who beat out sophomore candidate Cole Butler for the starting job, Hill is looking for him to improve in some of his fundamentals, but said a good arm is already in place.

“Josh is doing good,” Hill said. “He’s coming along well. He needs to improve some on his footwork, but he’s an extremely accurate passer.”

Injuries have not been a problem for Riverview. With the exception of the typical bumps and bruises that any coach can expect this time of year, Hill said the squad was okay.

The new has begun to wear off now that the Raiders are preparing for their third season of varsity football. And with all of the worries of having a start-up program out of the way, Hill and his staff can focus more on those day-to-day worries, namely finding the remaining pieces of the starting-lineup puzzle.

“Like I said, Monday was kind of a down day, but aside from that, things have been going well,” Hill said. “We’re improving every day. There are still question marks out there — we know who’s going to be where for the most part, and we’re learning new things every session.”