By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Amory just keeps evolving. The Panthers were pass-happy just two seasons ago, before going nearly 50-50 run-pass last season.
New coach Ben Ashley may up the run percentage a little bit.
“We’re still going to try and create balance,” Ashley said. “We’ll try to throw the football. We’ve got to try to find those guys to catch it.”
The Panthers return quarterback Jon David Poss, who threw for nearly 2,500 yards last season, but he is losing his five-wide weaponry.
Amory doesn’t have a slew of starters returning – just three on offense. The biggest concern there may be on the offensive line. There are football starters playing baseball, but not having them may be a good thing.
“Obviously our baseball team is pretty good, and I don’t anticipate having them at all, depending on what kind of run they make, which I hope is a good one,” Ashley said. “That means a lot of guys will be getting snaps and it’s only going to make us better in those positions.”
Ashley left the head coaching job at Falkner to become the new Amory coach after Trent Hammond was hired at Tupelo. Ashley spent time at Amory as an assistant and is familiar with his new-old environment.
Senior Fred Garth returns to the team after a year away and will take snaps at quarterback while Poss plays baseball.
“He’ll play everywhere, running back receiver, quarterback, outside linebacker, free safety,” Ashley said. “The kid’s just a football player.”
Another player expected to step up at receiver is junior Tyler Sienkowski, along with a handful of younger players Ashley and a new staff will monitor over the spring and summer.
Ashley said the coaching staff is learning to work together, just as the team is for the new staff. Former offensive coordinator Jon Keith went to Tupelo with Hammond. Ashley hired new defensive and offensive coordinators.