Briggs stressing the fundamentals

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

No matter how old they are or what year they are in high school, they are equal in Alvin Briggs' eyes.

The Greenville football team began spring football practice on Tuesday and will wrap up spring drills on May 14 at Georgiana with a spring game.

But don't expect to get a preview of things to come this fall. Briggs plans to get a look at everyone on the team to see where they may begin practice this fall.

Briggs said the Tigers won't be spending all spring trying to learn a new offense or defense. He plans on keeping it simple while stressing the fundamentals.

"We are going to use this time to cover the fundamentals now," Briggs said. "We won't have time to cover the fundamentals when we come back for fall practice. That time will be spent getting ready for our season-opener and games to come."

Greenville, which closed with a disappointing 2-8 season, has 69 players out for spring drills.

Briggs said there won't be much team contact drills during spring either.

"I don't want to put our guys in a situation where they get hurt in the spring," he said. "If they get hurt in the spring, then may not be able to help us in the fall."

Briggs said he won't have an idea who is starters will be until Aug. 26, which is their opening ballgame. But there are plenty of holes to be filled. The Tigers will return five starters on offense and six on defense.

"We have a lot of experienced players returning though," Briggs said. "They may not have started, but we played a lot of guys last year."

Briggs said that he never goes into a spring looking to find a starter for the fall because he said it limits what a player may do.

"This way, everyone has an equal chance to play for a starting position," he said.

The big question on offense may be answered as late as the second game of the season, Briggs said.

David Stephenson, Lynn Lewis, Tommy Powell and Marcus Mickles are all in the hunt for the starting job. Stephenson may have somewhat of an inside track to being named the starter since he did see some playing time at quarterback last year.

"I think we can find a good quarterback out of that bunch," Briggs said.

The tailback position also is up for grabs with Isaiah Mack, Jeremiah Mosley, Rico Johnson and Brandum Cheatham in the running.

Returning starter Keldrick Pate isn't guaranteed that he will return to his starting fullback spot this fall either. Pate will be challenged by Robert Phifer, Briggs said.

In addition to Pate returning, Greenville has two offensive linemen and two wide receivers returning.

On defense, the defensive backfield could be the Tigers' strength. Greenville returns three of the four starters in the secondary.

Joining them will be a returning starter at linebacker and two defensive linemen up front.

And after going 2-8 when expectations were high last season, Briggs said that he has to constantly sell his football program to his players and potential players.

"Each team is different every year, so you have to sell that program each year," he said. "Every year there is a new team, new positions and new chemistry. So you have to sell the kids on what you are doing.

"And the kids dictate what and how this team goes."