Huntingdon receivers have big shoes to fill

Huntingdon receivers have big shoes to fill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon Hawks backed off their full-speed work with a practice in shorts and shoulder pads on Thursday.

A day after scrimmaging for the first time this preseason, the Hawks focused more on execution and fundamentals in their eighth practice. Huntingdon will return to full gear on Friday for another scrimmage.

"We spent most of today working to correct the mistakes we made in yesterday's scrimmage," Huntingdon head football coach Mike Turk said. "We'll see how much progress we've made on Friday. One of the main things we'll be looking at on Friday is our tempo. I want our tempo to be better on both sides of the ball. We've got to work on getting our signals, getting lined up properly and executing our assignments without a lot of time in between plays. That's challenging on both sides of the ball."

Huntingdon's scrimmage will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and is open to the public. The freshmen and newcomers will scrimmage first, followed by a scrimmage with the returning players.

Entering the second scrimmage, Turk said he believes the Hawks are finding a solid group of receivers. The unit was one of the team's deepest positions last season, but there are big holes to fill. Three of the top four receivers (Cody Pearcy, Willie McDowell and Nick Sheppard) were seniors. Pearcy finished as the Hawks' career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Turk said he feels good about this year's group and hopes the unit will live up to expectations set by previous Huntingdon receivers.

Senior Austin Worley leads the group of returning receivers and was second on the team last season with 27 receptions for 449 yards and three touchdowns. Worley, senior Del Green and junior Tyler Robinson played in all 10 games last season and senior Ephraim Johnson played in eight games.

"Between Worley, Ephraim, Del and Robinson, we've got four guys that have played a lot of football for us and have helped us win some games," Turk said. "After that, our next guys are sophomores Taylor Belsterling and Brantley Carr. They're guys that have played some and we're going to be counting on them this year. Those are out top six guys right now, which makes us two-deep at each receiver position. But we've got to find some more guys and develop some more depth."

Turk said freshmen Darryl Vason, Jamichael Bibb and Jay Brown are next on the depth chart.

"Those three are guys that are playing well and seem to be understanding what's going on," Turk said. "All three of them are still learning, and at times, you can tell they're a little unsure. But they're learning and catching on."