Kilgore Rebuilds Offense for 2012
KILGORE -- While Kilgore's defense returns several starters, none of whom more important than standout middle linebacker A.J. Davis, the Bulldogs' offense has its fair share of question marks entering 2012.
Running backs L.D. Anthony (TCU) and Dondra Halton combined for 2,400 rushing yards in 2011 as the Bulldogs went 9-5 and reached the Class 4A Division II Region II title game, but neither is back for 2012. Quarterback Riley Toler and receiver Matthew Dickey are also gone, along with stalwart lineman Donald Jackson.
But as the saying goes, the cupboard isn't bare. A year after recording 133 tackles as a junior safety, Cooper Coldiron takes over Toler's vacated quarterback position.
"We're going over the basics," Coldiron said during Tuesday morning's practice. "We're doing good. Everyone looks good."
Wood believes Coldiron (5-11, 170) gives Kilgore an extra dimension at the QB spot.
"I think he's going to be a kid that we can do a lot with," Wood said. "I think he's going to extend some plays for us and run the football at the quarterback position and make us a little more mobile. I've really been pleased with him throwing the football.
"Cooper was a really good player for us last year at the safety position, but I think him stepping over and playing quarterback, he's going to bring some leadership to that side of the football and possibly help some of those younger kids move along."
Junior lineman Clay Wiley (6-1, 280) anchors the offensive front, which will block for a brand new cast of tailbacks. Fullback Cornelius Bell (6-0, 240) is back and will also play some defensive end, but the other ball carriers will be new faces.
A junior and a sophomore have stood out to Wood.
"We're looking at JuJu Brown, who was on our JV last year, and Kevron Justice, who was our starting tailback on our freshman team last year," Wood said. "We've got some kids there that don't have a lot of varsity experience, but we feel like they can do what we ask running backs to do: be physical and run the football and have that extra gear if we break loose."
Wood said Davis will again patrol the middle of Kilgore's defense from his linebacker position, but will also give the Bulldogs' a receiving threat at tight end. Davis and Wood believe Kilgore will be fine up front defensively, although speed-rushing end Chris Paige's 14 sacks won't be easily replaced.
Juniors D.Q. Scott (5-11, 220) and LaDarrin Anthony (5-11, 225) give Kilgore a pair of young, proven defensive linemen.
"D-line looks pretty good," said Davis, who is receiving interest from multiple Division I schools. "The young ones have got some experience. They're going to come in and play well."
While moving to District 16-3A, the "District of Doom," won't be easy, Coldiron is optimistic and ready for the challenge.
"It's going to be exciting," he said. "We're ready."