Chargers get A-minus grade from Hill

Even with one good eye, Johnny Hill could tell his Oxford Chargers had a successful final scrimmage and end to a very important spring.


Hill, who underwent eye surgery two days before the spring game, rated the overall spring as an A-minus, a good mark considering 1) a number of players were out taking part in other sports and 2) there were several positions to fill heading in.
“Considering all the pitfalls we had this spring as far as what was going on, we got about as much out of it as we could. We got a lot of young kids in and got a chance to see a bunch of them,” Hill said. “I know I was excited about the effort with the majority of them. That was certainly the biggest thing, more than the score. You want to see the effort. I did the best that I could on the sideline with one eye, but I thought overall our effort was pretty good. That was really my grading point and I thought that was a plus. You can correct mistakes, but you can’t correct effort.”
The Chargers had five new players take part in the spring game against Northwest Rankin, a team Hill said was very big up front, but not able to really get to his quarterback, Jack Abraham.


“We’re not there yet, but I really liked their effort. Plus the defensive front, we were young there in a lot of places. I also thought our defensive front played pretty well. I thought this was, to me, one of the most important springs we’ve had,” Hill said. “There were a lot of distractions, all and in between, with the kids staying after school and preparing for tests, to baseball season going on, to track season going on, to tennis season going on. Those were the most important things, but it gave me a chance to see other kids I needed to see.”


Workouts coming
With spring drills out of the way, the Chargers will start conditioning and lifting weights as a team. Last year, there was a record turnout in the offseason program, another key to the Chargers making it all the way to play in the MHSAA Class 5A state title game.


“I think our numbers will increase this year. There will be one or two that can’t make it for some reason. This is not something we do all summer long, we do give them a two-week break in there if they need it for vacations and church trips. We give that break, but we expect them the rest of the summer,” Hill said.


Lifting weights isn’t the only activity Oxford does together in the summer. Offensive and defensive skill players take part in 7-on-7 each Monday night at Bobby Holcomb Field against other area teams.


“Last year at one point, we had 10 teams here. It’s not a come-every-week type thing. Sometimes we’ll get one or two and sometimes we’ll get eight or nine. There is really no set number,” said Hill, who saw his team win the National Select 7-on-7 Regional in Tupelo last June, advancing to Hoover, Ala., in the process. “Right now we’re going to do 7-on-7 at our place, Ole Miss, Hoover and tentatively in Tupelo. That one in Tupelo really depends on some things. There is a (tournament) in Jackson I’m looking at.”


Abraham, a rising junior, excelled in his first season as the starter in 2013, throwing for over 3,400 yards and over 30 touchdowns. Hill felt like his bright signal caller continued his path to being even better in 2014 during the spring.


“Jack has been great all spring. I thought he did a good job on a couple of reads that he had that I thought he probably could have done a little bit better decision on. But he learned from it. I just felt we got a little better with him and as a team,” Hill said. “All in all, in the situation that we were in, I would say it was very productive overall for us. I think we got better and that’s all you’re trying to do.”

Oxford will open the 2014 season at Jackson Prep on Aug. 23.

About John Davis

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