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Tigers keeping spring simple

MCKENZIE - Time has been flying for McKenzie football coach David Kirkland.

It was just last week when the second-year Tigers coach was running blocking and tackling drills with his young squad.

A week later, the Tigers have an intrasquad scrimmage under their belts and are looking forward to their spring game Friday at Kinston.

"It's hard to believe that we play a game Friday night," Kirkland said. "We have what we need installed offensively and defensively, and the kids are taking hold of it real well."

Kirkland will have learned more about his team from their afternoon scrimmage on Friday.

"I wanted to analyze what groups play better on offense and defense," Kirkland said. "I needed to see where we are and what to correct."

Kirkland said that he has seen steady improvement each day from his young squad.

"They are getting better each day," he said. "We haven't had a bad practice yet. They come to work each day."

Still the Tigers have a lot to learn this spring before returning in August for fall drills.

While some schools have been using this spring to introduce a new offense or switch to a different base defense, Kirkland said he has kept this spring as simple as possible.

"We've been trying to make it so simple that they can't mess it up," he said with a laugh.

Kirkland said he has installed four running and four passing plays so far this fall. If the Tigers master those eight plays, he said he might throw in a screen pass play or two.

"I'm hoping to see some surprises next week, too," he said. "There are some out there who haven't played football since pee-wee ball, so I'm looking forward to seeing them play."

On Friday, the junior varsity teams will take center stage for a quarter. Then the varsity will play the remaining three quarters.

"We match up well since he's playing just as many eighth graders as we are," Kirkland said.