Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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August 12, 2013

Coach Taber on Indians 'I like our depth this year...but we're going to have to grow up quickly'

JACKSONVILLE — When the Jacksonville Fight'n Indians open fall camp at 8 a.m. Monday morning, they will be operating at a completely different level from in past years.

That's because for the first time in ages the Tribe went through spring practice back in May, and having those 18 workout sessions under their belts should make the Indians a better team and one that is ahead of the curve in many ways, according to the team's head coach, Chris Taber.

“When we open up on Monday we will have the kids in the places that we feel that each of them can help us the most,” Taber stated. “We spent the time coaching them up in the spring and that is behind us now.”

Jacksonville graduated in the neighborhood of 30 lettermen from last season's 4-7 team, which makes the Indians one of the least experienced teams in District 16-4A.

“We do have a lot of young kids this year,”Taber said. “And, again, the spring practices have really helped those guys in the learning process.

“But at the same time we will have to grow up fast, we realize that. By playing Carthage, Palestine and Gilmer right out of the gate, our kids are going to have to adjust to the (varsity) speed of the game in a hurry and it may take a game or two for them to where they need to be.”  

One thing that Taber is practically giddy about is the team's dept this year, which was a shortcoming of the 2012 squad.

“The blessing is our depth,” Taber said. “Last year we were talented, but we just didn't have the numbers that we needed (to prevent many players from being two-way starters).

“This year we are two to three deep across the board, which lets us breath a sigh of relief, because all teams are going to get nicked up and have to deal with injuries.”

Taber said he anticipated the Tribe varsity carrying about 15 players more than the team had last year.

“We had a large freshman class last year and those kids have moved up in the system and we have been able to increase our numbers because of that,” Taber said. “The extra depth will really help us on offense where we will be two deep this year. We really need that because of the up tempo offense that we run. We will have the personnel to get kids off of the field and make adjustments and let them get a shot of water, and we couldn't always do that last year, because a lot of those kids had to play defense too.”

An example of the Tribe's bevy of bodies can be found at wide receiver where Taber said that Jacksonville has eight “good” receivers, with only four of those guys playing on the defensive side.

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