This is the sixth in a series examining high school football teams in the Bi-City area during spring practice.
Columbus will hold its spring practices from May 6-17.
Team name: Columbus Blue Devils
2013 record: 0-10, 0-7
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How finished in region: Last in Region 5-AAAAA
Playoff result: Did not make playoffs
Key losses: OL Tedric Palmer, WR Tony Alexander
Key returnees: DB/RB Ivan Rome, DB/RB Dale Williams, OL/DL Eduardo Cubero, OL/DL Brock Shinault, LB Jailyn Trice, QB Derrick James, DB Essang Bassey, RB/LB Ja’Quan Mason, LB Ladi Dada, WR/DE James Traylor, S Raymond Cochran, DE Justin Geter, FB/LB Brandon Palmer
My take: This team has nowhere to go but up.
The fact is, it went 0-10 last year and is looking for a combination of players that can become a winning formula.
The good news is that the last time Columbus went winless, it followed that season up with a 9-3 record and a trip to the playoffs. Bobby Howard was the coach at the time.
I’m not saying that’s the future for this team. Quite frankly, it has a lot to accomplish in the spring and fall practice periods to contend in 2013.
That said, there are positives.
Seventeen of 21 starters return, according to coach Phil Marino. The majority of players have 15-20 varsity games under their belt. You can’t underestimate what it means to know how to play at this level.
Superior talent usually shines through, but a team full of experienced and disciplined players can always make some noise.
Marino says that stopping the run and being an effective running team has been an Achilles heel for years. Flipping that script will be a focus this spring.
Columbus can’t go into spring or fall expecting that experience will be enough to carry it through. Like Marino said, this football team and its results have to mean something to the players.
If he can’t convince the players to sacrifice free time in order to improve, then this team will continue to be stuck in a rut.
The fact is, though, that it had the talent to win a few games last year. It simply must learn how to trust itself and perform during spring.
Follow along every day for a look at football teams around the Bi-City area. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.
April 29: Brookstone
April 30: Calvary Christian
May 1: Carver
May 2: Central
May 3: Chattahoochee County