Carver-Central pre-game blog: Keys to watch for in tonight's scrimmage

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerAugust 22, 2013 

The Carver football team surrounds coach Joe Kegler before the kickoff of Thursday's scrimmage against Central at Garrett-Harrison Stadium.

I am currently looking down from the press box at Garrett-Harrison Stadium. Ahead of me, I see bright blue sky, but it is being taken over by some ominous clouds.

Oh, well. The show must go on.

Both teams have taken the field for warm-ups, and I just got a quick word with both Central offensive coordinator Ryan Nelson and Carver head coach Joe Kegler, who will be taking the sidelines for the first time in that position.

I asked both the same question:

Are they ready for some football?

The answers were similar.

“I am,” Nelson laughed. “I’ll tell you later if these kids are.”

“Ask me at about 8 o’clock, and I’ll have an answer for you,” Kegler joked.

The game obviously won’t count in the standings, but there are a number of things the coaches will be looking for that are very important going forward.

He are a couple of key things to watch in this game.

The quarterbacks

Both quarterbacks are essentially brand new in this game. Central’s starter, Ethan Baber, got one start in a playoff game last year, but other than that was a second-stringer, who came off the bench to spell starter Jamal Howard.

Jawon Pass is a highly-touted sophomore who, nonetheless, has seen very little action and none in significant minutes.

How the quarterbacks adjust to the pressures of starting and leading their teams will play a big part in the eventual success of the teams this season.

Carver’s defense

The Tigers are very talented on that side of the ball with a slew of linebackers who will play Division-I or close to it in college. Niemus Bryant and Mekhi Brown have both committed to Division-I schools, Georgia State and Alabama, respectively, and Tim Whatley was the All-Bi-City co-defensive player of the year last year. Defensive back Khane Pass has offers from North Carolina and Clemson.

The talent is there to be an impressive unit. Will they be able to mold that into a dominating defense this year?

They get a stiff test in Central do-it-all athlete Traveon Samuel, who also has a slew of Division-I offers. He can line up and beat you anywhere on the field, and will give the Tigers a good idea of where they stand.

Playing under the lights

There are always the first-game jitters, and it’s good to get them out of the way in a scrimmage game. No scrimmage is bigger in the Bi-City area than this game, and both teams will get a good sense of where they are, where they need to be and where they’re going.

Going back to the quarterbacks, getting those jitters out of the way tonight will be big.

Alright, that’s it for now. Follow me on Twitter @leprepsports for live updates from the game, which kicks off at 7 p.m.

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