YORK, Ala. (WTOK) - The Sumter Central Jaguars compiled a 1-9 record last season and many of those losses were blowouts at the expense of the Jaguars. However, head coach Shannon Felder feels that he and his team had to undergo a bit of a learning curve after last season – which was Felder’s first with the program.
“I think the communication is improved which is very important,” Felder said. “I think the overall understanding of what we were able to do and the things that I felt like probably created some problems for us from a scheme standpoint – so there were things that I’d like to do and that I’d done in the past that really just doesn’t work for this team. And so I was able to recognize that and take those things out and then add more for the guys to know and like and to do well.”
One of those adjustments Coach Felder speaks of is the number of plays – which he felt bogged down the speed. Changes like that have allowed the team to play more quickly and more efficiently.
“Like last year we probably had a lot more plays than what we needed. Cutting down on the verbiage when we’re saying the plays, I think by doing that the guys can play faster – understand what we’re doing a lot better.”
The coaching staff believes the team is better than they were a season ago after having had a year to become acclimated to each other.
Similarly, players feel offseason workouts have been more structured and that they are working harder in practice. Alphonso Henderson is a senior offensive lineman and notices the adjustments over the course of the year.
“He just expects us to be our best every day at practice,” he said. “Every day we come here, he want us to give our one hundred and ten percent every day.”
Fellow senior and quarterback Chris Millsap also notes that the players are closer in addition to improving their skill set.
“We working on our bond, we’re getting better, we’re getting closer as a team,” Millsap stated. “We’re getting our defense right, we’re getting our stuff right, we’re getting our technique right.”
Team members list a state championship run as their main goal, however, Coach Felder has his sights set on smaller, more measureable objectives.
“The goal is just to try to get a little better each and every day and if we do that then, trying to win more games and making the playoffs and constantly improving – all of that will take care of itself,” Felder said. “So just the goal every day is to try to get a little bit better, play a little bit faster.”
The Jaguars open the season August 24th at home against Woodlawn.