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Working with Playmakers
The competition continues at quarterback, one of the tasks during this training camp has been finding ways to get the team’s playmakers the ball. WR Kevin Ogletree caught 52 passes two years ago before missing all of last season with an injury. TBs Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson showed big-play skills and an ability to break long runs. TE John Phillips is a big target that presents match-up problems for opposing defenses.

“The key thing is to make sure the guys that can produce plays for you get the ball,” said head coach Al Groh. “Those players become pretty apparent to the opponent early in the season, as well as they’re already apparent to us.

“People quickly come up with ideas in terms of how to deny those guys the ball. That’s where the biggest challenge comeswhen people make an overt effort to keep the ball away from your guys. One, how are you going to compensate and get the ball to other guys and two, you just can’t say, O.K., you guys win. We accept the fact that this guy is going to be shut down all day.’”

While the players above are proven playmakers, the opportunity arises for some else to assert himself if the opposition necessitates itThe Next Man Up.

“Either through the scheme in getting the ball to somebody else or getting that player loose, you have to do a good job of getting them the ball,” Groh said. “So it is very challenging to us to make sure that that occurs and then to be ready for the what ifs’ as other people have schemes up against us.”

“With certain coverages, it’s possible defensively to take almost anybody out. Certainly we would be in the same category against other teams. What price are you willing to pay for that or what consequences are you willing to suffer for taking somebody out?

“It’s usually possible, especially with receivers with how you double your coverages or roll your coverages to one side or the other or put different combinations on it. If that’s the intent, if that’s what a defense wants to do, it can often be accomplished. Sometimes the price is greater than the gain. If you have multiple weapons or other things in your scheme to get the ball to other people, then hopefully offensively we can extract the price with those types of approaches.”

Cabbell Ready to Step Up
B.J. Cabbell is in his third year in the program and is the likely starter at right guard this season, one of three first-time starters on the line. He redshirted two years ago and saw limited duty in four games last fall, mainly as a blocker on field goals and extra points.

A graduate of Nelson County High School, he is the first player from the school to earn a Division I football scholarship in more than 25 years. Groh and his staff foresaw a good future for the local product.

“B.J. has good size, he’s got good strength (and) he’s got a real toughness about him,” Groh said. “He’s a low maintenance player who takes care of his business on the field and off and was clearly always a guy that it was important to him to be a good player.

“He just needed the experience, one on this level, and two, at the development of his position. He was amongst the players in his class that we saw early on (and thought), he should be able to blossom into a good player for us.”

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