CRESTVIEW — Second-year Crestview High School football Coach Tim Hatten believes this year’s Bulldogs enter the start of preseason ahead of where the team was a year ago.
“I think it’s just a lot better than it was last year,” Hatten said. “Trying to do something the second time around, you would like to think you do things a little bit better.
“For me, just being out here with high school kids again for the first time in 11 years (after coaching junior college), there is a little difference in the talent level. And working with nine or 10 new guys — as far as the (coaching) staff goes, getting used to everybody — it takes a while.”
The football team hits the field at 8 a.m. Monday for the start of fall practice.
Familiarity with his coaches and players breeds Hatten’s optimism.
“We’ve got a good staff that gets along real well together,” he said. “It has been a lot of fun the last year, and it can only get better is the way I look at it. I think we are light years ahead of where we were last year.
“But each team has its own personality and the opposition changes as well every year. We have to just take it one game at a time and do the best we can to eliminate turnovers and, hopefully, the kicking game.”
Hatten believes the Bulldog defense will be as good or better than last year and the team has a chance to be competitive in a tough District 1-7A.
A team strength this year should be quarterback, where junior Corey Armstrong returns after earning the starting job halfway through last year. Armstrong will be challenged by sophomore Rusty Moorer.
“We’ve got two guys that are really good and can run our offense that continue to get better and better every week,” Hatten said. “We expose a little more to them every week and it’s just enjoyable to work them and see the progress they are making with the offense.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s going to be a lot of fun for years to come with those two young guys. We are enjoying it.”
Football is often a game of numbers, and the number of capable players is always on a coach’s mind.
“I think depth is always a concern of ours,” Hatten said. “You look at our defensive depth, and we are just not real deep at the skill positions this year. We need to be a little deeper, and I think we will be in the years to come, but right now we are just not.
“We would love to keep our sophomores, most of them down and let them play with the JV and let them stay with that group, but I don’t’ think we are going to be able to, but we would like to though.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.