Football season is right around the corner and the Gustine Reds are using this time of the year to prepare for that first scrimmage and eventually their season opener.
Head coach Ronnie LaBry and his group of assistant coaches are preparing their team for their first taste of action against an opponent Aug. 16 at the Orestimba scrimmages.
“At this point, right now it’s all about fine tuning and reviewing the playbook,” LaBry said. “I want to have everyone constantly hungry and ready for every game.”
For the Reds, the upcoming season will be one of transition as they have fewer experienced returnees than in more recent years.
That inexperience will bring a learning curve, LaBry stated, but he believes his team’s strength in the trenches will help offset that.
“We are a very young team this year, but both the offensive and defensive lines are going to be my leaders because of their experience,” LaBry explained.
The line is where success begins regardless, under LaBry’s philosophy.
Without a good group of linemen on offense there isn’t an offense at all, he told Mattos Newspapers, as that group is the one that drives the offense.
The lack of returning experience means that many positions are up for grabs. The coaching staff will evaluate talent during the practices and the Aug. 16 scrimmage at Orestimba.
In previous years, the Reds have always gone into the season knowing who their team leader would be. This year, they are still looking for the player who LaBry calls “that guy.”
“In years before we always had a guy who would lead and stand out,” Labry told Mattos Newspapers “But this year we are figuring that out, especially with our young quarterback Jonathan Martin, who was a JV quarterback who was put in (at the varsity level) after an injury occurred and had to learn the playbook on the fly.”
LaBry believes the Reds will be balanced on offense this season - but acknowledges that the team is very much a work in progress as players gain valuable experience.
The Reds are hoping to be set and ready before the scrimmage and then eventually having the depth chart in order by their first game Aug. 30 at Linden.
“It going to be a process this season,” LaBry stated, “but eventually we are going to see who came to play and (who will) lead this team.”