It is no secret the Tallassee football team is hungry to get back to the postseason but there are some obvious hurdles the team will need to clear to get there. The Tigers lost a chunk of talent from last year’s team but with summer workouts beginning last week, they are getting a quick start on filling in the gaps for the 2019 season.
“We’re hitting them with a lot,” Tallassee coach Mike Battles said. “There’s a lot of emphasis on getting ready for those first two games. We’re already looking at what we need to do to be ready against our first opponents.”
With just over two months to go before the opening game against Montgomery Catholic, the Tigers are already trying to find who can take over the open starting roles. While the defense has plenty of experience returning, the offense has key positions open including the starting quarterback.
“We’re further along on the defensive side of the ball and that was to be expected with the experience we have there,” Battles said. “We’re having to replace a lot on offense so we don’t want to waste any time.”
Tallassee’s quarterback competition has heated up and Battles said the coaching staff has narrowed it down to Trace Ledbetter or Tyler Ellis. He expects both to play somewhere on the field but he said the team needs one of them to step up to lead the offense during the summer.
“They’re absorbing a little bit every day,” Battles said. “They’re getting better and growing more comfortable with the offense. The more reps we can give them, the better they can get. They just have to keep learning more every day.”
While the quarterback battle may draw the most attention, it is not the only one the Tigers have to figure out before the first game in August. Battles said it has not been unusual for a position battle to be won during the summer workouts and the coaching staff will continue to put an emphasis on how players perform before the fall arrives.
“There will be a couple of guys who may be battling for a spot but one guy will come out and really work for it,” Battles said. “If we see someone who is willing to outwork and get after it at full speed, they’ll get a spot. For the players that want to play who play physical and with great effort, we’ll find a spot for them.”
Battles said the top priority in getting a spot on the team is showing up to the practices but he said there has not been a problem with attendance in the first two weeks of summer. The Tigers have put a focus on conditioning and work in the weight room but they have also already started installing game plans which has helped keep the players interest and energy at a high level.
Tallassee will participate in summer workouts for four weeks before taking part in its first summer camp against outside competition. The Tigers start with organized team activities against Pike Road on July 9 before returning home to host Dadeville and Talladega on July 11.
“Those will be big for us to go out and get competitive against other teams,” Battles said. “Teams can get stagnant going against ourselves over and over again. I’m just looking for guys that will get fired up and go out there to get after it.”