KHQA Barnstorm Tour 2012
"Its big motivation for us because we got killed. It was a really big loss to our program, so we just want to get better from that and learn from everything we did,"
"We've had tremendous accountability in the off-season - these guys have really worked hard. Our weight room has been great with 90 percent turnout this summer, so we're just looking to build on what we did in the past,"
The win totals have increased incrementally in each of Aaron Elmore's 5 years with the Beardstown program, culminating in an 8-victory campaign last fall, one that saw the Tigers reach the second round of the playoffs. Pushing that progress even further, however, figures to be a bit tricky. Especially factoring in a host of marquee graduation losses. But at least, on paper, this is a squad that has tools to work with.
"I think right now overall we have the quickest team we've ever had in the backfield. Its just going to take them a little bit of time to get adjusted, some kids are playing new positions, but with overall team speed we're pretty well-off,"
"We're not very experienced but I think we're all coming around as a team, and we're going to get better and better until game one. Hopefully we come out and do something really good,"
The first order of business will be to sort out the pecking order at quarterback, where John Kramer and sophomore Gus Vermillion are neck-and-neck.
"We're just working on trying to get each one of them a lot of reps right now. We really don't know for sure which one is going to start, but each one of them is going to be pretty good,"
And the winner will be able to work to very explosive complementary weapons. Bubba Patterson is the lone veteran in that group, but expect to see plenty from the likes of Delaney Ortiz, Greg Carnes, Alex Miles, Cole Huey and others in some capacity. And all of that speed on both sides of the line is well-complemented here by big bodies up front.
"Whenever you're a 2A program, I think we have about 5 guys who are 250 pounds, that's a huge advantage for us. They're fairly athletic as well which isn't normal for guys who are over 250 pounds, so we're pretty excited about having big guys up front,"
That group includes veteran Tucker Harn and 285-pound senior Rolando Luna, who has gotten Division I recruiting attention from Western Illinois, among others.
"I like the experience, having Tucker right there with experience on the varsity line helps me, because I know he's got my back if there's more guys that need to be covered. I know he's got it and I know I've got it, too,"
"I think we're just looking to continue to get better each and every week. Our ultimate goal is to win conference first, and hopefully we can build on that and be ready for the playoffs and win some games there,"
"It just takes hard work, determination - keep on grinding. This is the most two-a-days we've had, ever since I've been here, so a lot of practice and a lot of teamwork is helping us out a lot,"