Back on the grid: Tigers excited to return to the practice field

Marietta High head football coach Adam Eichhorn is ready for a fresh start.

“We’ve been preaching that it’s a new year,” Eichhorn said during the Tigers’ first practice of the season Monday at Davis Avenue practice field. “Kind of our thing has been “Restore the Roar.” We’re trying to get excitement around this program and get kids to understand what it’s going to take to turn the page. We’ve got a long ways to go but so far through the first half of (Monday’s) practice, kids are excited about it and working hard. Baby steps, but we’re getting there.”

Marietta is coming off of a 1-9 season in Eichhorn’s first year at the helm, but there is reason to believe that the Tigers could improve on that mark this fall.

The team lost five starting linemen to graduation, but returns nearly all of its players at the skill positions.

“Last year, out of our six seniors, five were starting offensive or defensive linemen,” Eichhorn said. “That was a big hit there, but we return a lot of skill guys and a lot of young guys that are coming up to fill in some of those o-line, d-line spots. With our size being a little smaller than normal, we’re trying to take advantage of that with, offensively and defensively, what we’re doing scheme-wise. I think it’s something we can exploit this year.”

Speedster Quinton Coffield, a senior, is one of those skill guys that are back. Coffield did damage all over the field last season, including out of the backfield, as a receiver and as a return man. He also started defensively at safety.

“I think everybody’s excited for the season to get going and for our first game to come,” Coffield said.

“It’s going to be different in my senior year. I want to come out and I want to lead the team. I want everybody to come together as a team. It’s a big year for me.”

Coffield’s classmate Connor Beavers also proved to be a very productive member of the team last season from the wide receiver position, and is expected to be another leader on the squad. He believes the Tigers can do big things offensively this season.

“I think the sky is the limit,” Beavers said. “Our offense can put up a lot more points than we did last year. Our big thing last year was turnovers. We just need to take care of the ball better, move the chains, not get any penalties and I think we’ll be just fine.”

Under center, senior Anthony Kimbrough is the most experienced player back. Sophomore John Henry also saw time at quarterback last year, giving Eichhorn depth at arguably the most important position on the field.

“They’re neck and neck,” Eichhorn said. “You look at Anthony from experience and age-wise, he’s got the upper hand from that standpoint. The next two-and-a-half, three weeks will really tell what’s going to happen with the quarterback situation.”

The orange and black made some coaching changes over the offseason, with Nate Black taking over as the defensive coordinator. Parker Deem, formerly with Ripley, will be in his first season on staff, and Marietta also added several coaches from the middle school to offer assistance.

“We’re at the point now where we’ve got one coach at every position,” Eichhorn said. “Practice-wise, we’re able to split it, JV and varsity, so that’s a welcome change we haven’t had in awhile.”

Eichhorn said there are several things the team is going to focus on in practice to get ready for game one at Don Drumm Stadium against Morgan, and they are all related to hard work and having the right attitude.

“From showing up every day with weights, with meetings and films, and being out here, that’s the biggest thing we’re trying to take,” Eichhorn said. “We’ll teach them the offense and defense as we go, but it’s the mentality, the attitude and what we’re trying to do here.”