Rebuilding up front only option for Calhoun offense (VIDEO)
Aug. 15, 2013 at 3:15 a.m.
CALHOUN SANDCRABS AT A GLANCE
• HEAD COACH: Richard Whitaker (Eighth season)
• LAST SEASON: 10-1, 6-0 district
• RETURNING STARTERS: QB Hunter Boerm, FB Cory Williams, RB Brandon Smithwick, TE Colton Kveton, SE Cameron Boerm, OT Brian Tschatschula, FS Taylor Lee, CB Mauro Garcia.
• SEASON OPENER: Thursday, Aug. 29, at Corpus Christi Carroll, 7 p.m., Buccaneer Stadium.
PORT LAVACA - Calhoun head coach Richard Whitaker welcomed 185 players when football practice began Monday.
But among those, only senior Brian Tschatschula is a returning starter on the offensive line.
Tschatschula and his fellow linemen helped the Sandcrabs rush for 4,845 yards and 66 touchdowns last season, repeat as District 30-4A champions and advance to the area round of the playoffs.
Rebuilding the offensive line was a focal point of spring drills, and Tschatschula is determined to ensure no drop-off occurs up front in the Sandcrabs' option offense.
"I have to step up in a leadership role and help the coaches and help guide the other guys and help teach them," he said. "It's just hard work and stepping up."
Whitaker has been through rebuilding periods before and credits the consistency of the program with helping to overcome a lack of experience.
"The thing with us that we feel comfortable with is we've been here a while, and the kids start the program in seventh grade," he said. "We introduce all our basic stuff to them in the seventh grade. We start getting them in the weight room in seventh grade.
"We add things once they move up from the ninth grade. We just continue adding offensive things, and the kids continue to work in the weight room. You're hoping that you're developing kids through the program, and those kids, when they get the opportunity, they step in and do well."
Quarterback Hunter Boerm will be calling signals behind the rebuilt line after rushing for 1,734 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
Calhoun also returns running backs Cory Williams and Brandon Smithwick.
Boerm expects the offense to be just as productive as last season.
"The first day of practice, everybody came out and seemed like they retained everything from spring ball," Boerm said. "The coaches are a big part of it. They coach all the kids up so they can play at the Friday night level. I guess the weight room and playing on Thursday night is a big thing, too."
Tschatschula learned from his teammates on the line last season and finished the season with 20 clearing blocks and 14 pancake blocks.
"You just have to know what you're doing from the small details," he said. "It's a challenge. It's a matter of other people stepping up and willing to be in that place."
• Whitaker said Calhoun's main focus the first week of practice has been refining the offense and defense.
• "We've really got a lot out of it this week because in the mornings, all we do is teach," he said. "We walk through; we stop, we talk. Our practices are pretty upbeat. I've always believed you've got to have reps to get better. The mornings, I'm not worried about getting reps. I'm worried about what our kids have retained. I think they've retained very well from the spring."
• The Sandcrabs will practice in pads for the first time Friday and hold an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning.