RIPLEY - Jimi Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles sang about "goin through them changes" on the 1970 Band of Gypsys' release Live at the Fillmore East.
Much like Mr. Miles, the Ripley High School football team is goin' through them changes as well.
The team took the field on Monday morning for the first day of practice leading up to the August 24 opener at Parkersburg South where Jordan Quiocho, who is a returning one-thousand yard rusher for the Patriots will attempt to run through the Viking defense.
Gone for Ripley are quarterback Tyler Casto, two-way star David Hicks, talented kick returner/wideout Anthony Michael and field goal and punting machine Jamin Jones.
What do you do? You utilize the talent you have and install a system on both sides of the ball that is made to fit your strengths.
Veteran head coach Jimmy Frashier has done just that. The team will run a version of the spread offense that allows them some versatility and ability to showcase their offensive strengths, which are team quickness and size and speed at the wide receiver positions.
The team has abandoned the 50 defense it boasted last season in lieu of a 3-4 look that utilizes the Vikings quickness that is anchored by senior nose-guard Daryl Hicks.
"This is one of the fastest, if not the fastest defense I have had since I have been here," said Frashier.
"Austin Hall and Nathan Tucker (linebackers) have really gotten my attention early with their intensity and smart play."
Athletic sophomore Trevor Tucker will be taking the snaps for the Vikings this season and his combination of football IQ, strong arm and quick feet will hopefully prove challenging for defenders in 2012.
The running back position will be led by returning senior Tyler Pittenger and a committee of capable runners that include Ryan Stutler and Jacob Lewis among others fighting for the position.
The offensive line looks to be promising and will be anchored by 5-11 190-pound center Andy Mellert.
"I am looking for big years from Donohew and Fields," added Frashier.
Nate Donohew is a 6-2 tight end who can go up for the ball with soft hands. Quaseem Fields is a ultra-quick slot man who can play all over the field. He will be counted on to pick up some of the slack left by the departed Anthony Michael in the return game.
"All of the coaches were pleased today. We saw a lot of encouraging things for our first day out. My staff has worked hard and I am blessed to have so many good football men in my corner.
We have to keep working but I like our team." said Frashier. Look for a in-depth analysis of the 2012 Viking team with player features in JN's football tab later this month. Video interviews will be available on JN's site soon.
Page 2 of 2 -