“We’re going to play it like a regular game and go out and make it fun,’’ coach Kerwin Bell said.
That may be a little tough because several players are still mending from last year and some others are nursing new injuries. Nonetheless, Bell says the Dolphins have had a rather productive spring with plenty of competition.
“On offense we’ve been really pleased,’’ he said. “Watching first couple teams compete against each other there’s a lot of competition.’’
Bell said the offensive line is living up to expectations and will be bolstered by transfers Trammel Williams (South Carolina) and Dylan Bostic (Appalachian State) and the return of senior center Kevin Halverson who missed last season with a broken finger.
“They work hard and finish hard,’’ Bell said. “We are going to be a very good team up front.’’
One of the most watched battles, quarterback, still is a dogfight with Kade Bell, Trevious Folston, Steven Hughes and Ryan Walker in the mix to replace graduated Josh McGregor.
“All four have been doing extremely well,’’ Bell said. “You can see the missed assignments and the misreads going down.’’ The only drawback to the spring was Folston getting injured in an early scrimmage.
Bell said he has been disappointed with what he has seen, or hasn’t seen, at running back but it has nothing to do with talent. Injuries have hampered progress of the group.
Keith Dawson suffered a hamstring, Jarrius Lindsay a concussion and Johnnie Hicks an ankle and Bell said he expects a tight race when all are healthy in the fall. He lauded returning fullback Robert DiMarco as a “pleasant surprise.’’
Receivers coach Ernie Mills is trying to find replacements for graduated Josh Philpart, Larry Thompson and Tommie Rogers and has some bright spots with which to work.
Adrian Riley found his stride late last season and has continued this spring and Dorian Guy has flashed.
“He’s a very talented kid and we’re pleased with way he’s performed,’’ Bell said.
Yeovanti Williams “has as much ability as anybody who has ever come in here,’’ Bell said and sophomore D’Andre Randle, who also has been banged up, has improved his consistency.
One of the best positions has been tight end where Andrew Robustelli has been outstanding.
“People can’t guard him,’’ Bell said. “He’s been very, very y good from the first practice.’’ Quentin Davis, who bloomed last season then got hurt has been nursing an ankle and Hank Farmer, who moves from fullback has been a good surprise with his run blocking ability.
The defense continues to recover from a string of injuries from last fall, but that doesn’t mean it has been dormant.
The line, which will be led by Mike Mayoral and Juan Pimienta on the inside will have plenty of depth and experience with Charles Dowdy (foot), Luiji Michel and Chance Smith all returning. Bell said Jamaal Coleman has been among the standouts in the spring.
“We tell (defensive line) coach (Ernie) Logan to make sure they stay healthy,’’ Bell said.
Another position which took an injury beating last season was linebacker and when that group is healthy it could be one of the best in the Pioneer Football League.
“We’ve had a lot of guys banged up,’’ Bell said. Among them are Layne McCombs, A. J. Joiner and Mike Klein.
Bell said Taylor Marsh is “really ready for senior year ‘’ and noted that Montaque Mack may be the most improved player not only at linebacker but on the entire team.
Secondary is another area recovering as Jordan Dewhirst, Ed Foley and Blythe Weaver are recovering and Schon Thomas hurt his shoulder in spring.
“There is a lot of uncertainty there,’’ Bell said.
Those who are healthy received high accolades. Bell described Colby Walden’s spring as “fantastic’’, said Andre Addison, who is moving to safety could be the best ever in school history and Antonio McRae has had coaches “raving about the spring he’s had.’’
The spring game is scheduled for 1 p.m.
- Jim Nasella