The Sumter Item sports writer Danny Kelly conducted a question-and-answer interview with each of the 12 high school football coaches in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties, asking each the same five questions about their recently concluded spring practices. Today we have Crestwood High School head coach Roosevelt Nelson.
Q: What was your No. 1 goal entering spring practice and did you accomplish that goal?
A: Yeah. No. 1 goal for spring practice was basically, you know, getting our spring installations in with the offense, defensively and special teams and solidifying a first-team offense, a first-team defense and solidifying all our specialties, which is kickers, snappers, holders and returners. We got all those; we checked all the boxes on those. We also wanted to definitely, you know, take advantage of those 15 practices in May that we did; take advantage of those and get better each day.
Q: Who was an individual who stood out to you?
A: Definitely Montrell White. On the offensive side of the ball, Montrell White, who’s a senior receiver, also plays some defensive back. He had a heck of a spring ball coming off of being one of the, I think he finished fourth or fifth, best in the state in long jumps. He wasn’t definitely (there) for all the spring practices, as far as on the field working, but definitely days that he was there, he made a huge impact and he had one of the better springs for us offensively. On the defensive side of the ball, I think (defensive end) Parris Lowery had an outstanding spring practice for us along with (linebackers) Derrick Prince and Jaquan Brunson. I think those three individuals, and one more I didn’t wanna leave out was (defensive back) Dre’shawn Wright in the secondary; those four guys defensively. And I think offensive-wise, I was very pleased with the play of my offensive line. I think those guys done a heck of a job this spring. They came every day with a good attitude, worked tremendously hard and made big gains from throughout the winter through spring. So those guys had an outstanding spring. Offensive linemen I think did a good job this spring, that was Charles Grant, Terrell Mason, Kalus Benjamin, Christopher Barfield and Tyler Dawson.
Q: Did you have any concerns after spring, and if so, what were they?
A: We got a total of 11 seniors right now on this team, so we’re very young, but I definitely like the direction the team is going. That’s why it’s so important to get out there and have a spring ball and get that stuff going. We’ll have summer, so it’s very important to get those guys as much practice in as possible. Concern would be the youth, inexperience on some positions, you know, and just basically blessed we haven’t had any injuries, so that was a positive for us. We got out of spring ball relatively healthy this year. Like last year, I lost a star linebacker during spring to a torn ACL; lost him the first, second day of spring ball last year. So this year, very fortunate to get out with no one having any serious injuries. Offensive-wise, who’s done a good job with us this spring, I said Montrell White, offensive line, another young man named Desmond McMillan, he’s done a good job as well; he’s a tight end for us, done a phenomenal job this spring. He’s also our long snapper. The whole offensive line I think made tremendous strides, did a good job; got that. We wanted to make sure we solidified a starting offense, starting defense and starting specialty people; snappers, kickers and holders and returners. We got the boxes on those. We want to also make sure we take advantage of each practice this spring, since I have such an inexperienced team; wanted to take advantage of spring practices we have.
Q: Where do you need to make the most progress over the summer entering the fall?
A: You know, just on all things; we gotta improve everything. There’s no part of the ball that I would say that we are, you know, that great. You know, at the same time, you know, we definitely got the right attitude. I like what I’m seeing out of this group of kids we have right now. They come out every day, they’re working, they’re being accountable. Quarterback is definitely a position that we’re definitely working on. We gotta solidify a guy there; got two guys working at quarterback right there. That’s Clayton Feagin and Tony Raymond. Clayton saw action last year in three or four games, and also Tony Raymond saw action last year in all 11 games, but pretty much on the defensive side of the ball, so he has lofty playing experience, but not at quarterback. That’s the one position that we definitely, you know, got probably the, I would say, maybe the biggest question mark on right now. But at the same time, with that being said, you know, Clayton Fegin and Tony have done everything we asked them to do up to this point, as far as from to when are workouts, to being there, you know, being leaders, showing that kind of ability; they’ve definitely done that up to this point.
Q: What was one area or position you feel you solidified in spring?
A: I would say probably right now, our strong suits would, if I had to say, Danny, probably is the five offensive linemen and our defensive line. Our offensive and defensive line. That would be our strong suit of our team right now. The starting offensive and defensive line, that’s our strong suit.
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