East Ridge Hoping to Bounce Back in 2013
East Ridge, TN-(WDEF) East Ridge started last season by losing their first six games, and getting shut-out three times. The Pioneers wound up with a 3-7 record. Said head coach Tracy Malone,"We do reflect on it. We know where we were short, and where we need to get better. So we designed our off-season program around that specifically." Said quarterback Jo Jo Tillery,"Couldn't come through adversity. All coach taught us last year. Just coming through adversity, and we couldn't come through it." Added defensive lineman C.J. Baker,"I want to start over for this year. Not necessarily forget about it, but progress on it."
East Ridge will be starting over on defense with a new coordinator in Mark Teague, who comes to the Pioneers from Marion, Arkansas. "I hope I'm bringing a more aggressive mind set of defense to East Ridge. We have a lot of athletes here. Lot of kids that like to fly around."
C.J. Baker has the wing span to fly around at defensive end standing at 6'6, and weighing 240 pounds. Said Malone,"He's not Jadeveon Clowney. We understand that, but for us he is. We're going to play him every where along the defensive line. We'll probably play him at linebacker some. We're not going to let teams run away from him."
Baker is good, but perhaps kicker Tad Whitaker is the Pioneers biggest weapon. Said Malone,"He is an extremely accomplished kicker. He's starting to get some looks at colleges. He's got a 4.0 GPA."
Malone feels good about the kicking game, but it's the trenches where the Pioneers need help. "We just don't have any squatty body linemen. Trying to get some kids maybe that don't have the ideal body-type to play offensive or defensive line. Trying to put those kids in position to be successful."