The team returns starters in QB Brandon Daley, RBs Will Allison and Deion Goshay and WRs Chase Silvani, Adam Wilson and Tanner Knowles. Add in RB Xavier Bond, a Harris County transfer, and the Gators are poised to light some teams up this year.
“We were pretty successful offensively last year, so we feel like we should be as good as were last year if not a lot better,” Glenwood coach Jason Allen said. “We feel like we have improved up front on our offensive line, added some guys, and have all of those guys coming back, so we should be in great shape this year.”
Offense loaded with skill players
The most notable returners on offense are Daley and Allison, two proven starters who accounted for more than 2,000 yards and 25 TDs last season.
Daley passed for 979 yards and 10 TDs last season as a sophomore, and Allen said he expect bigger numbers with more experience and speed back at receiver.
And Allison rushed for 1,035 yards and 15 TDs last fall in eight games, missing a few with a broken hand.
Together they hope to improve on 2010’s total with all of their new options and with less pressure on Allison as the feature back.
“(Daley) can throw the ball really good, and we can run really well, and that opens it up for the pass,” Allison said. “... And we have got two fast wide receivers that can catch the ball great.”
Daley sounded pleased with his options, particularly the return of Allison, and said he believed Glenwood was now “the fastest private school in Alabama.”
“(The depth) is great, especially because it helps me as a quarterback when you can just hand the ball off,” Daley said. “And that just brings eight or nine (defenders) in the box, so you can just lay it out there with some of these fast receivers. It helps a lot.”
The offensive line also improved in the offseason, Daley said, and the team added Cole Knight, a 6-2, 285-pound transfer from Northside, to the line.
Defense returns eight starters, features more transfers from Northside
The defensive line returns Kyle Langston, Jesse Hill, Weslee Bowers and Eric Lynn, and with the addition of Knight as a two-way lineman, the Gators feel good about their ability to rush the quarterback and defend the run.
The team also returns a pair of linebackers in Judson Neel and Logan Kiker, and Northside transfers Markel Smith and Luke Dougherty have stepped in well.
“On defense, our line up front is just really big, and then we have got some pretty big linebackers,” Allison said. “Then our secondary is real fast. There is not going to be a lot of passing on us because we are pretty good on that.”
Finally, a big senior class
If there’s one thing Glenwood has been missing, it’s seniors.
The Gators had two seniors in 2009 and eight in 2010, an improvement but a change that still left Glenwood younger than many of its opponents.
This year, though, Glenwood has 14 seniors, and their experience and leadership have helped tremendously as the team prepares for the season, Allen said.
“It’s been a huge difference for us because we have a lot of carry-over from last year,” Allen said. “We don’t have to start from scratch with these kids.”
Living up to expectations and ranking
The Gators open the season No. 6 in the all-classification AISA portion the Alabama Sports Writers Association's preseason poll, a spot the Gators are already turning into motivation to improve.
“Actually, I’m kind of mad about it,” Daley said of the ranking. “I wanted to be higher. We have a lot of guys coming back here, and we know a lot of teams lost a lot of guys. We are kind of mad that we are that low, actually, and we are looking to climb the polls every week.”
The Gators will get their chance to climb the rankings this season as they play six of their 10 regular-season games against preseason top-10 opponents in No. 1 Monroe Academy, No. 2 Pike Liberal Arts, No. 3 Fort Dale, No. 4 Edgewood Academy, No. 8 Lowndes and No. 9 Springwood.
Aug. 19 7:30 p.m. vs. Tattnall Square Academy
Aug. 26 8 p.m. vs. Fort Dale Academy *
Sept. 2 8 p.m. at Lowndes Academy
Sept. 9 8 p.m. at Lee-Scott Academy *
Sept. 16 8 p.m. vs. Southern Academy
Sept 23 8 p.m. vs. Lyman Ward *
Sept. 30 8 p.m. at Macon-East *
Oct. 7 8 p.m. vs. Monroe Academy *
Oct. 14 8 p.m. at Pike Liberal Arts *
Oct. 21 8 p.m. vs. Edgewood
Oct. 28 8 p.m. at Springwood Academy
* AISA Class AAA Region 1 game
Coming up in the Ledger-Enquirer
If you're wondering how your favorite team is doing leading up to kickoff, keep checking back. I'll be going to one or two practices just about every weekday through next week or so until I have hit all 17 Bi-City schools. I'll be posting blogs, photos and videos as I visit each one, but the featured stories about the teams will begin running one a day in the Ledger-Enquirer's print edition and running them in reverse alphabetical order. Here's the schedule of which days you can find which team's story in print:
Aug. 15: Hardaway (Blog, video and photos here)
Aug. 16: Glenwood
Aug. 17: Columbus
Aug. 18: Chattahoochee County
Aug. 19: Central-Phenix City
Aug. 20: Carver
Aug. 21: Calvary Christian
Aug. 22: Brookstone
Aug. 23: 2011 Ledger-Enquirer Dandy Dozen team announced
Have any particularly interesting questions you want me to a coach or player? Have something you'd like to read about on the blog? Have a story suggestion? Paste it in the comments or send it in an email to email@example.com and I'll do my best to get to your request when I visit that team's practice.