Walker coach Chad Mahaffey is using this spring as an evaluation process of sorts as the Wildcats head into Friday’s spring game hosting Woodlawn.
“We’ve got always a number of new guys you want to see and see how they’ve improved from last year or guys that were maybe were more JV players if they’re ready to kind of step up and obviously incorporate all the freshmen into the varsity as well,” Mahaffey said. “We’ve been working on a lot, and for the most part, I think the kids are getting everything pretty well.”
The spring game, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. was moved from Thursday to Friday because of the Walker baseball team’s participation in the state baseball tournament.
The Wildcats are also implementing a 4-2-5 base defense under new defensive coordinator Doug Dotson.
“He does run some other fronts as well, but obviously, the terminology and a lot of things are different, so you’ve just got to get everybody comfortable with that,” Mahaffey said. “I think the kids are picking up on it pretty fast.”
Mahaffey noted offensive coordinator Aaron Vice has moved to Central and said Landon Waguespack and Warren Young Jr. will take most of the reps at quarterback in the spring game with Hunter Bethel still playing with the baseball team.
Mahaffey is looking at the situation as a positive.
“It’s kind of like if you have an injury,” Mahaffey said. “You don’t want that to happen. You don’t want to lose a starter, but the benefit is somebody else gets a little more reps, so hopefully that builds some depth and experience down the road. Both guys are very capable. Warren is a big part of our offense as a receiver, but he’s got a quarterback background, and he can do that job. Landon, I think, is going to be a really good quarterback. It’s just a lot to ask as a young guy to come in there and compete with those guys as a freshman, but he's been doing it. I think it will be a good learning experience for him as well.”
One of the main goals for the Wildcats defensively is to gauge the progress of some new and lesser-experienced players.
“There were some young guys who had some experience but now they’re older, so I think the secondary’s going to be big for us to see how those guys are doing,” Mahaffey said. “I think we’ve got to improve our play at linebacker. Dayne Carpenter’s moved in there. I think he’s going to do a good job. We need to just have some consistent play there.”
Mahaffey said he’s looking forward to seeing how the Wildcats respond against outside competition.
“You get to got against another team who doesn’t know every little thing you’re doing, so they’ve got to react to you, and then you’ve got to sort of react to what they’re doing because you don’t know exactly how they’ll play you and respond to things,” Mahaffey said. “You hope to be sharp execution-wise. We’ve had some problems with our snaps from the center and things like that, so I’m hoping that we do better Friday.”
“We just want to see the kids play hard and try and do the basics that they’ve been working on and put them into practice,” Mahaffey continued.