CRESTVIEW — Tim Hatten's second year as Crestview High School's football coach starts Thursday with spring practice's opening.
The Bulldogs will need a replacement for defensive end Denzel Ware, who will play football at the University of Kentucky.
Crestview also has taken a hit on the offensive side, with rising senior running back Emmanuel Reed transferred out of the program.
But Hatten doesn't spend time thinking about players lost; rather, he chooses to focus on those who are on his roster.
"You have kids come and you have kids go,” he said. "The players we have concern me more than anyone not in my program, and that's kind of how you have to deal with it."
3 quarterbacks, developing skills
Hatten expects year two to be easier than year one, if for no other reasons than players being familiar with his offense and quarterbacks better understanding the offensive scheme.
Rising junior Corey Armstrong started the 2013 season's last half at quarterback and is the man to beat heading into the 2014 season. Rising junior Alex Maxwell started for the junior varsity last year, and rising sophomore Rusty Moorer started for the freshman team.
"The big thing is we've got three guys that played in our system last year," Hatten said. "The first-year quarterback is really hard to predict. The second year is a little bit easier.
"They have a grasp on what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it. Their reads are a little more easy. They are little more comfortable."
All three quarterbacks have made considerable progress during the off season, and Hatten said he looks forward to seeing how they will continue to develop.
Even with Reed's departure, the Bulldogs will be deep at running back and, Hatten said, "I feel great about our running backs."
He also likes the returning receivers, and said to expect some defensive starters to get touches on offense this year.
"We like what we are going to do," Hatten said. "We think it's going to be a challenge (for defenses) with the people we have at the perimeter (wide receiver), the slot receiver position, running back and quarterback.
"We think getting ready for us is going to a little more difficult and we are excited about that."
More athleticism, more aggressiveness
The Bulldog defense stood strong last year, and Hatten expects more of the same this year.
"I feel really good about defense as a whole," he said. "We think we can be every bit as aggressive as we were last year with a little more athleticism. We feel good about that."
The Bulldogs were 5-5 last year with a big win over rival Niceville High School.
With a foundation established in 2013, Hatten hopes to continue to get better.
"We are just hoping to build on what success we had last year and move the program forward," he said. "We want to establish some continuity and make sure you have a decent off-season program.
"If you make sure they are doing what they are supposed to in the classroom and conduct-wise, everything else will take care itself."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.