JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Now that the Marble Falls High School football team is about to complete spring drills, fans can turn their thoughts to the 2013 season.
Marble Falls will end spring drills with its Purple and Gold game 8 p.m. May 23 at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive.
The biggest offensive question? Who will take over at quarterback for Mike Richardson. That honor goes to incoming sophomore Brennen Wooten.
“He’s really starting to come along and learn how to study the game from a varsity standpoint,” Mustangs head coach Todd Dodge said. “As young as he is, we need to make him uncomfortable in practice, so he gets used to feeling that way and then we get to Friday nights. It kind of slows the game down.”
The offensive line will have new starters and a new coach, Brandon Murdock, in the fall.
“Our offensive linemen are coming down and having lunch with coach Murdock every day and watching some video,” Dodge said. “It has definitely been on the top of the to-do list to develop that new offensive line.”
Defensively, the Mustangs have been learning a scheme under new coordinator Tony Salazar. Hired in February from District 25-4A rival Leander, Salazar’s defense gave up an average of eight points a game.
“Overall, (I’m) really pleased with coach Salazar and what our defense has brought to the table and how our players are responding,” Dodge said.
In addition, the Mustangs have chosen 20 players to train on both sides of the ball. Dodge said there might be some changing of jerseys during the contest. Some of those players include seniors Zuri Buchanan and Aidin Parnell.
“I really wanted to get on the defensive side last year,” Buchanan said. “Now, I get the chance to be. Now, I’m really excited. Defense wins championships, so that’s one of my mottos. I’m going to go in the 2013 season and do the best I can do for my team, and, hopefully, we come out and get a playoff strike.”
“Spring games sometimes are sloppy because there’s not as much continuity as you’d like because you split up teams,” Dodge said, “so I’m not going to get too bent out of shape, for lack of a better term, if we don’t have all our continuity.”
The most experienced athletes are the offensive skill-position players that include senior running back Keith Jerome and senior receivers Garrett Gray, Carson Bowen, J.T. Watson and Parnell.
One of the top priorities was getting the Mustangs to understand game situations and the importance of making a play to continue offensive drives or the defense getting off the field.
“One of the things that was a huge goal of mine going into spring ball was to better educate our football team on the game of football,” Dodge said. “Not just playing it to play plays but to understand the ebb and flow of ballgames, to understand the crucial points of ballgames, to make sure we’re always paying attention to down and distance, to making sure that when there are crucial plays to make in the game, that we’re the ones making them in a positive way. So I think our players have responded as we’ve gone through.”
And while the Mustangs play this game as a reward for the hard work they’ve put into the past three weeks, Dodge said that’s not the only reason for the game.
“A goal of mine here in Marble Falls is I look at this as a showcase of our football team, kind of a celebration of the spring,” he said. “I’m excited to show off our team to our fans. Really, the spring game is for the fans. Part of the success of a great spring game will be a great spring crowd.”
That’s why there’s no admission to attend.
All of District 25-4A participated in spring drills the past few weeks, Dodge said, which is invaluable.
“You take the 60 candidates and you put them through 16 practices without the pressure of having to play a game in a week or two weeks, and you’re able to teach the game, you teach your system,” he said. “You’re able to really get better and to really address your needs. That’s the reason why we go through spring ball rather than taking the extra four days in the fall.”