After Friday night’s Libby High School football scrimmage, Head Coach Neil Fuller was a happy man. His 2013 team will have a distinct advantage over last year’s team — a running game.
Surrounded by his players, who took a knee before they were to indulge in a watermelon fest, Fuller assessed the first full week of practice.
“We’re going to be able to run the ball this year,” Fuller said. “We’ve got the guys upfront.”
After he released the Loggers to enjoy the fruit of their labors, Fuller expounded on the 2013 Logger grid team.
“If we’re going to make a run at the conference, we’ve got to be able to run the ball, and it looks like we’ll be able to do that this year.”
The reason for Fuller’s optimism is most of his line is back from last year.
That lineup includes Cooper Brown at center, Austin Marshall and Mike Curtiss at the tackle spots, and Gage Cichosz and Tarasik Krisanov at guards.
Fuller could hardly contain his excitement as the names rolled off his tongue like a guy who was looking at a menu at his favorite restaurant.
“This is the best offensive line I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Fuller said. “Last year, our linemen averaged maybe 165 to 170 pounds. This year, our average is more than 200 pounds.”
However, there is a drawback to this year’s squad, and Fuller knows an injury here or there could drastically affect his team.
“We really don’t have the numbers that we’ve had in the past, so an injury can really affect us,” he said.
This year, the Logger roster includes just 40 players, down about five from last year, and that means his offensive lineman will be going both ways — playing defense.
Jared Winslow will return this year as the Loggers’ signal-caller, who will also take the field again as a defensive back. Winslow, who injured his elbow during baseball season, appears to be throwing the ball well.
Sharing the backfield with Winslow will be fullback Nic Robertson and tailback D.J. Maefau. The starting backs will be backed up by Skylar Higareda and Zack Crace.
“We’re all new on the perimeter, but we’ve got some kids who are learning quickly,” Fuller said of his receiving corps.
The Loggers don’t have much time for them to get the experience as they travel to Bonners Ferry for a 7 p.m. game Saturday.