High school football practice began across the state on Monday, and the Tribune had a chance to talk with area coaches about what their three most pressing issues are heading into the season. Here is what Spring Lake coach Jerry Rabideau listed as his top concerns, as well as some other notes of interest. The Lakers open on Aug. 29 at Coopersville. We highlighted Fruitport in Wednesday’s edition and will take a closer look at Grand Haven on Friday.
Adjust to a new defense
Spring Lake is switching from a 5-2, a set with five defensive linemen and two linebackers, to a 4-3, which utilizes four defensive linemen and three linebackers.
“We’ve changed our entire defensive scheme,” Rabideau said. “Part of that reason is we’ve got some pretty nice looking linebackers that can read, and flow and hit. I think one of our goals is to make sure we can really run a 4-3 with the right stunts, and obviously get all our reads down before the Coopersville game. It’s going to be difficult.”
Translate work in the weight room to the offensive line
“We’ve struggled on our offensive line for the last two or three years,” Rabideau said. “We just don’t have great big kids. We’ve got athletic kids and smart kids, but we’re undersized. The past couple years we’ve been under-strengthened, whereas this year we’ve really committed to the weight room. We’ve got some really strong kids out there; they’re just not very big. They’re strong, they’re smart, but that’s one of the keys for us this year, I think.”
Stabilize quarterback play
Spring Lake ended up using both Mark Williamson and Charlie Warber at the helm last season, after losing Jake Chittenden for the season with a dislocated shoulder.
Chittenden graduated and Warber will be playing running back, making Williamson the clear-cut signal-caller.
“With Mark being in the position that he is, and with the offseason work, I just think his confidence has boosted,” Rabideau said. “I think it’s going to be one of those situations where we’re just looking to improve vastly (from) where we were at last year.”
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.