Rams looking to eat yards
August 24, 2008
Coach likes what they return on offense, has questions on D
For a team that graduated an all-state quarterback during the offseason, Hot Springs Lakeside looks pretty good.
Head coach Randy Hornbeck, now in his fifth year as the head Ram, said he likes what he's got coming back on offense.
It's easy to like B.J. Jones, the all-conference senior running back who will be the Rams' top weapon on offense with the departure of quarterback Colby Warren. Jones scampered for nearly 1,000 yards last year and will look to improve his stats in 2008.
Senior Mitchell Scott will make the move from linebacker to quarterback. Hornbeck said Scott "had a great summer" and seems to understand how to run the Spread effectively.
Scott's top weapon will be all-conference receiver Ben Crumpton, who will be joined on the outside by Bailey Scott (no relation to Mitchell), who Hornbeck also praised for his offseason work. The offensive line will be led by three-year starter Ben English at center and senior guard Quayshaun Walker.
While Hornbeck is confident in his team's ability to eat up yards and score, he has some questions about the other side of the ball.
"We've got some gaps to fill," he said of his defensive unit.
Two places he doesn't have gaps are at the corners, where Andre Wesley and Austin Baker will line up. Baker injured his hand before the beginning of the 2007 campaign and therefore missed most of the season. Hornbeck said he'll need Baker to be a stopper on the outside if the Rams hope to improve on their 5-5 record from a year ago.
With the newly aligned 5A Southwest, the Rams enter the year as the only team in the conference that did not make the playoffs last year, and Lakeside didn't miss by much. That creates a tough environment every week, Hornbeck said.
"How many conferences go into the year with seven teams who made the playoffs last year?" Hornbeck asked. "But that's not just us, it's going to be tough on every team in this conference."
What Hornbeck and his staff are trying to emphasize to their players as the season approaches is not to jump ahead of themselves.
"We tell them, right now, at this part of the season, we're not worried about our opponent," Hornbeck said. "Our biggest opponent right now is ourselves. ... What we're concentrating on right now is the Rams."