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Summer workouts good for Eastside
Eagles tinker with 3-5 defensive scheme

COVINGTON - Eastside's football team had a relatively good summer.

The Eagles became stronger, faster and added new plays to their already effective playbook.

The only thing they didn't get from their summer workouts was senior leadership and a mental improvement.

"I'm a little disappointed in our mental approach. The physical approach is there. It comes down to being serious and I want the kids to see it," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "I'm a little disappointed in our leadership and our seniors. They've been used to following for so long that some of them are having a hard time stepping up, becoming leaders and that kind of worries me."

Part of their summer included a trip to Americus for a camp where the Eagles were able to work as a team.

"We got some things accomplished. Anytime you can go off and get away from all the distractions, it's always good to do that," Hurst said. "I feel like we did pretty well. We're just trying to get better, get our full packages in on offense and defense."

Even though a lot was accomplished, there are still a lot of things that have to be done.

The biggest concerns for Eastside are the offensive line and its corps of linebackers.

"We still have a question with the offensive line. We feel like the potential is there to be pretty good again up front. It was good to have them together at camp. It was the first time they've worked together as a unit since spring. But it was like a learning curve again," Hurst said. "When you replace five linebackers, there's a concern. I feel pretty good about our first five. But after that I'm worried. Our linebacker situation is a little thin."

A new twist the Eagles have been working on is with their defense. They will still be working the 3-5, but with the addition of a new defensive coach, they plan to make it better.

"Our defense hasn't changed as far as our philosophy and our scheme. It's just that we've tinkered with it. One of the new guys that came aboard on our staff was a (defensive) coordinator at Union Grove and was a coordinator at Burns High School in South Carolina on a couple of their state championship teams and they ran a 3-5," Hurst said. "He's brought a lot to the table as far as knowledge and the schematic of our defense. So we've tinkered with it trying to get the best athletes out there that are going to be successful with it.

"The physical side is there. I know from a strength and conditioning standpoint that's there. We just have to find the best formula of players that are going to be on the field at the same time. Once we do that, I think we'll be OK."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.