08/21/08 — Football preview: Rosewood High

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Football preview: Rosewood High

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 21, 2008 1:35 PM

Gone are the days when coaching football was a part-time job for four months out of the year.

Here to stay are the long days spent at the field, in the weight room and in the classroom studying the intricacies of offense and defense.

Nobody knows about the long hours of building a program quite like head coach Robert Britt at Rosewood High School. Since his hiring a year ago, Britt has implemented a new system of training and began rebuilding his squad which lost 15 starters in the offseason.

"We have a lot of potential going into this year. We just don't know how that is going to translate on the field," said Britt. "Our guys are going to be bigger and stronger than last year, which is certainly a good place to start."

An improved summer workout regimen has undoubtedly helped his young group of offensive playmakers transition into the fall season.

"We started last November developing a program that would get our guys in better shape and it's paying off in our practices now," said Britt. "With seven new faces on offense and nine on defense, we knew it would be a tall task to get everyone ready to play."

One of the premier position battles that has emerged in recent weeks is quarterback. Brandon Ash is being pushed by freshman Taylor McGill. Senior Eric Martel will anchor a strong corps of running backs, while questions still remain at multiple offensive line positions.

"The guys know generally what position they are going to play," said Britt. "The tough part has been figuring out who is going to be the starter at each of those open positions."

Senior center Steven Bostic will be the Eagles' leader in the trenches. Will Beasley will fill the hole left at tight end by Catawba College signee Holt Rains.

"Will is a guy that has really solidified himself over the summer offensively," said Britt. "It is hard to take a very skilled players' spot, but Will is doing a good job so far."

Because young teams often keep themselves in games by playing stingy defense, Britt knows his group will have to mature quickly in game situations.

"There is a lot of talent there as a group, and I think by the end of the year we will be playing good defense, but the question is how long it will take to get to that point," said Britt. "The key will be playing as a unit from the opening whistle."

Measuring success play by play instead of by touchdowns on the scoreboard will help Britt and his staff rate the team's overall progress. With a scrimmage against Bunn and early games against Goldsboro and Southside, the Eagle coaches should know exactly where they stand by mid-September.

"It's not going to be easy that is for certain. Bunn is a very good team with a quarterback and a center that have both been four-year starters, so to scrimmage them and then come back with a regular-season opener Friday against Goldsboro is a tall order," said Britt. "Then we play Southside the second week, so we will know soon enough how we match up."

With several teams rebuilding in the Carolina 1-A Conference, Britt expects the Eagles to be competitive.

"Ayden-Grifton has reloaded and North Johnston will be pretty strong, but I think the rest of the teams will play some very close games," said Britt. "I think we have all the ability to be in all of our games, but at this point you just never know."