With three months to go until the start of football season and about a month until the beginning of 7-on-7 leagues and summer practices, here are some observations during the Mingus Union Marauders' football spring practices.
*Remember, it is the middle of May. Summer practices are still a little ways off and a lot can happen in three months. People can improve or regress. A hard summer in the weight room can add a lot of size and sometimes something unexpected (good or bad) can happen.
--Head coach Bob Young and his staff will have two years with Jordan Upham. In 2013, senior Micah Nevarez took over for former Marauder Luke Simmons and had one year as the varsity quarterback. Like Simmons, Upham will get two years on the job.
--While on the topic of quarterback, Upham looks to be the lone shot caller that is ready for the varsity stage. Unless the staff is able to find a serviceable enough backup quarterback, they better hope and pray that nothing happens to Upham between now and the beginning of the season.
--Upham's targets will be easy to find. With freshman Trevor Galloway and sophomore Zach Simmons leading the way at 6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 4 inches respectively (maxpreps.com 2013 roster), the tight end and receiver corps could be deadly.
--Another target that could have some potential is junior soccer player and jumper Jahmol Moncibaez. Moncibaez, who comes in at 6 foot even, is still green but give him time to develop, and most importantly put on some mass, and the Marauders could have another tall target.
--Of course, it isn't Marauders football without a running game. Young and company are losing backs Dakota Hanks, Anthony Broyles and Brennan Kitchen to graduation, but juniors Javin Helsel and Levi Collins will be taking over the production for them. Both are fast. They were part of the track and field 4X100 relay team that won second at the state meet. Helsel was also part of the 4X400 gold medal winning relay team and Collins is a top-10 thrower in his division. Add Herb Tiffany (who also has the hops to catch, just watch him play basketball) to the mix and the running attack should not see much, if any, drop off.
--Division-III first team punter Marshall Shill is another casualty of graduation, as well as all-section kicker Jahir Jacobo. Both players were able to give the Marauders great field position when getting rid of the ball of kicking off. Watching players punt, the cleanest punters were Collins and Upham. They were consistently in bounds and consistently got 20-plus yards.
--Mingus' secondary could be a thing of beauty. With Tiffany leading the troops, which will consist of much of the offensive weapons like Simmons, Galloway, Collins and Helsel, the Maruaders could make the backfield a dangerous place for teams to throw the ball.
--The offensive and defensive line will be lead by soon-to-be seniors Cordell McKeever and Andre May. The size looks to be there, but it is hard to tell how they will develop when they are working with bags. When summer rolls along and then workouts with pads, it will be more clear with how the line is developing. But the line is crucial to Mingus success on the ground.
These are a few things that I noticed at practice. Maybe some people were having an off day or not able to be at that practice. But again, a lot can happen in three months. More importantly, its almost time for football.