Friday, August 03, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Falcons choose a quarterback

Leader sports editor

The first week of football practice at North Pulaski saw one major change from spring and summer practice. There’s a new leading candidate for starting quarterback. Head Falcon coach Teodis Ingram listed four players who were vying for quarterback duties on this year’s team, but a fifth person has been handed the reins, senior Austin Allen.

“He’s definitely the leading candidate,” Ingram said of Allen. “With him back there, you could just see the offense clicking a little better. The young guys we were trying out were doing a good job and were making progress, but they just aren’t there yet. Things started running just a little smoother with Austin at quarterback.”

One of the plans since off-season began was to find ways to get the ball into Allen’s hands, though he was primarily a receiver. The decision to move him to quarterback not only solidifies that spot, but also gives the other candidates opportunities to concentrate on the other positions they can play and contribute to.

Just knowing who the quarterback is likely going to be is helping us in a lot of areas,” Ingram said.

According to Ingram, Allen isn’t yet where he needs to be as a passer, but has shown tremendous improvement since the decision was made in last July to move him to quarterback.

“When we first started, he wasn’t hitting his receivers in route very much at all,” Ingram said. “He still has some work to do on his throwing motion. He’s played so much baseball we’re still working on that football motion. He’s probably hitting his target about 60 percent of the time right now, and I expect that to get better and better.”

Two Thomases are working at running back. Damon Thomas and Fred Thomas have excelled, according to Ingram.

“Both of those guys have looked very good running the ball,” Ingram said. “Derek Hart was a really good running back for us last year, but I really believe Fred Thomas could be the best running back people have seen around here in a long time. He’s not as strong as he needs to be because he missed so many lifts playing baseball and basketball, but he has a great deal of natural athleticism.”

North Pulaski isn’t plugging in an entirely new offense this year, but they are tinkering with the scheme. They’ll still be in the wing T, but it will be more spread out, and they will be going without a huddle.

“We’re working on snapping the ball when the official puts it down and takes his hand off of it,” Ingram said.

The new offense will be on display for the first time on Aug. 31. That’s when the Falcons open the season at J.A. Fair.