Forest Mazey sparks new life into Greer County. The youth of Mangum have bought into this fun style of football too. Sawyer Webb, Aidan Warner and a dozen other future footballers are as much in the drills at practice without the contact as you can be. That’s how athletes learn the ways. Let the kids hang around the team and they will learn. Give them one of the 100 little jobs to do during the season. In trade, every young athlete in Mangum should be outside throwing seam reads, outs and bubble screens and big boys learn to kick slide. Because Mazey is willing to spread the field and light a spark under some Tigers.
COACH -Mazey coached at Atoka. At Atoka, you support the Wampus Cats. Mazey won as a Wampus Cat. He won more games than any recent coach at Atoka. Several losses were narrow margins and Mazey’s offenses frequented the end zone. This version of the spread is not common. Mazey had the best practice that I attended. It had imagination, tempo and aggressive one-on-one battlescrums over 2x6 boards.
RATING-Mangum hired the right guy for them.
TEAM-This is a complete flip of the switch for these players. The quote of the week for me was Mazey saying, “We owe it to these seniors to win now, not talk about rebuilding.” Bob Stoops said the same thing at his press conference after being hired in 1999. Mangum played good football in the Burns Flat scrimmage. They moved the ball and scored a few times. The defense held Burns Flat in check.
RATING - On their way up. The bench is bigger than it has been recently. Participation is up. That’s a good thing.
QUARTERBACK - Colby Hamlet is the guy right now. Kade Wendt is available as well. These two need to be outside playing catch. Spin that ball. Must improve throwing the ball. Wendt has experience but not in this system. Everything is new for the QBs. Mistakes have to be overlooked, if not expected. This position improves drastically as the season goes on.
RATING -Good runner and good athlete. Mechanics must improve. Will need assurance from his teammates that he is the man. As soon as he relaxes and begins to trust his playcalling head coach, Mangum will put some much bigger numbers on the board and the quarterback will shine in this system.
RUNNING BACK- Senior Markeius Edmunds has emerged to solidify this position. He is a bright spot so far through training camp and has taken his leadership role on this team seriously. Mangum has taken the field with great backs in the past. I will forget some of you guys and I apologize to you if I do. However, Kenneth Davis, Mickey Reed, Dennis Gilbert, Henry Evans, William Ray and Jeremy Ganaway come to mind. A spread back has to catch the ball and has to block effectively. He is usually picking up blitzing linebackers. Deliver the hit. Don’t just absorb it.
RATING - Good, solid, quality back. Will have a big year.
WIDE RECEIVER - You will need to start finding and/or creating space. Stalk blocks and everything else on the perimeter is yours. You have to control your edge. You often block the last line of defense. Your blocks yield huge gains. Take pride in being the best in-space blocker and route runner. Should be a fun year for this group. Has to be very active. Stalk blocking is not easy and doesn’t get you in the end zone. However, it gets your teammates in the end zone frequently. You can’t take plays off if the ball isn’t coming to your side.
RATING- Average - as soon as you prove you can block one-on-one in space, RATING will change to “great.”
LINE - Coach Gather has his 15+ linemen enjoying the boards and loving the contact. Never a dull moment in these drills. Line benefits from system change. In a two-point stance (no hand on the ground), this line back peddles or kick slides backwards to cut off pass rushers. There seems to be 10 optional starters here maybe more. Linemen that play the most, will have fewest penalties, be able to remain steady while defenses jump around disguising their rush. After the play, get back to the line. The offense is ready to run another play.
RATING - Good - very good…. Based on the board battles.
DEFENSE - Unknown - defensive line will be aggressive. Performed well in first scrimmage. If the defense shows up and consistently gets the ball back to the offense, this could be a fun year. The only real downside to the spread is sometimes it can score too fast. Not many people would see this as a problem. However, if you score too fast, the defense can’t rest.
RATING - I’m giving you a rating of ZERO. This is all I can do from here to maybe upset you enough to prove me wrong in the first two games. You are at Hobart then at Frederick where you will have to chase Deyone (D1) Miller and J. Randle around. By then, we will get a clear picture of the Mangum defense.
SEASON - The schedule is very rough early. Don’t lose the season if there are early losses. The Tigers are on the rise in every way. Mazey, Wendt, Gather and Pennypacker make a good coaching staff. Have fun Tigers as you hurry up to the line. Let’s go, let’s go.
RATING - Better than recent efforts. Might sneak up on some people. You can see how the offense will shine with accuracy at QB. If things fall just right and the Tigers get a few breaks, they could make some noise this year. Stay grounded Mangum. It’s a process.