During the preseason, new Goose Creek Memorial head football coach Shannon Carter raved about the improvement and ability of his offensive linemen heading into the 2019 campaign.
According to Carter, they haven’t disappointed as the Patriots have followed up a 72-7 rout of Sam Rayburn with two straight losses as they prepare to open District 9 – 5A I play 7 p.m. Friday against Houston Austin.
GCM has the second-rated offense in the district, averaging 448.3 yards-per-game including 221.6 on the ground.
Those linemen include Jace Davis, Tyler Tolliver, Riley Banks, Ethan Dyson and Braedon Paige.
“I love the O-line: They are getting better and better,” Carter said. “I like giving them love since they don’t get as much attention as they sometimes deserve. For me, coming in after watching last year’s film, I thought it was one of the units we had to address. I have clearly seen the buy in. The way they have played, how much stronger they have gotten and how have they have drastically improved from last year isn’t even close.”
Carter said that the line’s improvement and continue learning of the system should pay dividends in district play.
Carter said the line has protection issues the previous season.
“Teams wouldn’t even overload us, they would send four and we would have five to block and they would still get into the pocket,” Carter said.
Carter has two offensive line coaches working together – Cameron Young in his second year at GCM and Dwayne Dever who is in his first season.
“We really don’t have a defined he does this, I do this,” Young said. “We change it up quite a bit because we don’t want to be repetitive. So he may watch the right side and I watch the left side. We have to watch all five positions and see what they are all doing. Having two sets of eyes helps tremendously.
“Our linemen are bigger and there is more buy in this year. Our game plans and our scheme we have simplified so our kids can play fast.”
Young, 25, also enjoys working with Dever who is his senior and says he is picking up everything “like a sponge.”
The two have combined to build the players’ confidence and it has paid dividends in terms of the squad’s ability to execute.
“Being part of the offensive line for the first time, you can see we get along better and play more as a unit,” Banks, who played tight end last year, said. “We are able to communicate better. The coaches have been great bringing us together. Having two coaches has been a lot better and they can give us a lot more help.”
Banks said the linemen put in a lot of work in the offseason to be ready for this opportunity.
“We were working on the little things like our steps, knowing the plays and everything we can possibly learn,” Banks said.
The players attention to detail and fundamental performance has been the biggest areas of improvement.
“We’ve shot ourselves In the foot offensively the last two games, but the offensive line keeps getting better and better,” Carter said. “Everything else will come together around them. We are just young.”
He also believes that the linemen got tired of being pushed around.
“I told them, ‘remember the ugly duckling that became a swan,’ and I believe that’s the same thing,” Carter said. “It’s a coming of age story.”