echs o lineThe Rebels offensive line learns how to stay low.
The Rebels are getting antsy to put on the pads and start hitting somebody. But, until Wednesday arrives, the football team is working on getting stronger, more agile and learning the basics in summer practices wearing shorts and T-shirts.Coach Jack Webb, who is entering his third season at the helm, said things have gone pretty well so far but wishes more players would come to the voluntary summer workouts.Webb estimates he sees an average of 80 players daily during the summer, a far cry from the 132 he finished with in the spring.“It’s voluntary, so we can’t make them show up and go, but for the most part it’s been pretty good,” he said.Webb expects the number of participants to rise once mandatory practices start Wednesday. Players can wear shoulder pads and helmets and then the full gear practices start Aug. 6.The Rebels, who run the Wishbone, rely on a sound rushing attack. An obstacle this season is their two star running backs from last year graduated. Region 3-AAAA offensive player of the year Anthony Wright, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year, and all-region Antwan Wright, who rushed for 944 yards last year, must be replaced. Webb said the back positions are currently by committee with nine players fighting for the positions.“It’s kind of like a merry-go-round and swinging doors going into the first two or three games,” he said. “We’re trying to find who can do what we want them to do.”Another stalwart missing from last year’s 7-3 Rebels team is all-region linebacker Kevin Hedrick. The graduated senior anchored the Rebel defense that allowed only 91 points in 10 games last season.However, Webb said the goal has not changed — making the playoffs.“My big thing every year is getting into the playoffs,” he said. “Once we get into the playoffs it’s a new season and anything can happen.”The Rebels missed out on the postseason last year, losing 9-7 to Brunswick in the final game of the season.“We were disappointed we didn’t get in last year,” Webb said. “But, the last half of our schedule is the tough part. Offensively, we’re pretty young. I hope our defense plays well early to keep us in games and gives us a chance.”