SPORTS>> Panthers making moves early
By Ray Benton
Leader sports editor
The Cabot Panthers got right to business Monday morning, the first day of two-a-days football practice for the 2005 high school season. The Panthers had a good total of about 80 kids participating in the first day of summer practice.
Cabot’s first official practice took place with several question marks concerning personnel, but the coaching staff took steps right away to answer those questions.
With the almost the entire starting offensive backfield from last year gone, the Panthers went right to work looking at quarterbacks and running backs. In spring practice, all of the potential backs were on the small side, so Clayton Goshien, 5-feet, 11 inches, 210 pounds, was moved from the offensive line to the fullback position. It was just one of several potential moves the coaching staff is making to try and shore up the holes.
“We’re just experimenting right now and trying to see what will work out,” Cabot head coach Mike Malham said. “We won’t know for sure until we put the pads on, but we’re trying a lot of different things right now.”
Goshien’s move to fullback doesn’t come without its consequences. What was thought to be an experienced offensive line returning this year, now only has three starters back.
Goshien’s move to the backfield coincides with another starter quitting before two-a-days began.
“Now we’re down to (Jason) Aist, Colton Roberts and Joe Schotts coming back on the line,
we didn’t think we were going to have,” Malham said.
The good news is that there are players available to fill those spots that Malham says have potential.
“We’ve got the Trammel kid who has some size and he’s a pretty good athlete; we hope to be able to get him on the field and play that guard spot,” Malham said. “We’ve also got Scott Bayes, who’s 277 pounds, he’s really improved.
“He didn’t play a lot last year because he was so slow, but he’s worked hard and showed a lot of improvement. He’s not there yet, but he wants to play and he’s working hard. He could jump in there at tackle.
“If we can solidify that spot I think we stand a chance to still have a pretty good offensive line.”
Corey Wade figures to be the starting quarterback this season. John Flynn started several games last year in place of in-jured Ryan Cotroneo. He also started at cornerback, and will begin the season focusing on defense.
“We’re still working him at quarterback,” Malham said. “He’s there if we need him, but Wade is the one we’re looking at starting right now. He’s a little stronger throwing the ball when we need to throw it.”
The defense is very inexperienced, with as many as four sophomores figuring into the mix.
Richard Williams stepped up as a fullback prospect in the spring, but will start practice working at defensive back with Goshien’s move.
“He probably runs as good as anyone on our team, so moving him to defense will help us with some speed on that side,” Malham said. “We’re very, very inexperienced pretty much everywhere. We’ve got three down lineman back, so we should be alright there, but we’re green everywhere else. We’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but if they work hard, they’ll get those corrected.” So far, Malham says the work ethic has been good.
“They’ve looked good the first two days. They’re paying attention and responding pretty well. We’ll see for sure how hard they want to work when we put the pads on. We can’t really answer any of this until we get after it.”