• 50°

Greenville begins spring training, welcomes new defensive coordinator

It’s football season once again in the Camellia City as the Greenville Tigers took to the gridiron Monday for its first day of spring training.

And though the first days of spring are a bit slower than most, thanks to new faces both on the field and the sidelines, Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that this year is off to a much surer start than last year, thanks largely in part to a new hire.

David Bush, former defensive coordinator from Murphy High School in Mobile, joined the Tigers back in late February, and McLendon said that it’s been a great fit thus far.

“He’s done a great job,” McLendon said. “He really came in and he has a lot of energy and knowledge of the game.  He’s making my job easier.

“He’s been with us for a while in the weight room and the classroom, so he’s got a good relationship with the kids already.  I feel like that will only get better as we progress.”

The start to spring in 2017 is a drastic departure from the Tigers’ 2016 start, in which the sudden the departure of a defensive coordinator left the Tigers scrambling to find a replacement weeks before the season’s start.

McLendon said that the newfound sense of continuity would be a huge difference in the regular season to come.

“Hopefully we can just progress and continue to build on something that we haven’t had in a while, which is some stability,” he said. “I like where we’re at and the team that we have.  They’re a bunch of good young men, and they compete on a daily basis in the weight room and things like that.”

Though things are changing a great deal on the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers can take comfort in having a familiar face under center on offense.

Javion Posey, who will be a junior in the fall, saw a great deal of playing time alongside senior quarterback Brandon Simmons in the 2016 season, and his explosive running ability will keep opposing defenses on their heels in 2017.

McLendon added that last year’s experiences have shaped not only Posey, but the rest of the Tigers’ returners.

“They say there’s no better teacher than experience, and we were really young in some positions on both sides of the ball last year,” McLendon said. “I just think we’re in a better situation as far as the experience level.  We lost so many on defense from the year before, and basically we were going out there with a whole new defense last year. 

“Those guys got some good game experience last year, and that’s why I’m so excited, we know what to expect out of those guys and they know what to expect from us. They’ve gotten a little stronger and bigger in the weight room, and that was one of our main goals during the offseason.”

The Tigers were allotted 10 days of pratices, including a competition day, per Alabama High School Athletic Association rules, though they are unable to go consecutive days of contact practice.  As such, Greenville will have practice each Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the following three weeks, culminating in a jamboree game on Friday, May 12.

The Tigers will face the Class 5A Mae Jemison Jaguars of Huntsville during the Troy Cable Classic, which will be played at Troy University’s stadium.  The Tigers and the Jaguars will face off on that Friday at 4 p.m.

“It’s a good thing that they do, and it gives you a chance to play someone a little different, and in a different setting,” McLendon said. “I like it, and it’s something better than what we were doing in the past.”