Learning Experience: Unproven Bulldogs already improving


WHITE HALL — If the White Hall High School football team needs a blueprint for success this season, they don’t need to look too far into their own archives.

Last year’s team replaced starters at 14 positions en route to a 9-2 record, but that team graduated starters at 15 positions meaning the Bulldogs will once again look to reload.

According to their head coach Mike Vaughn, the mostly unproven team has already made significant strides just three days into fall practices.

“They’ve went real well,” Vaughn said of the first three days. “This is as positive a group as I can remember, which helps a lot.

“They’ve had a positive attitude, so it’s been real smooth.”

Senior running back Irvin Tisdale also likes what he has seen out of the group so far.

“It’s going better than I expected,” Tisdale said Wednesday. “It’s been better than where we were last year.

“I think we’re going to have a pretty good team.”

With younger players trying to find their spots and older players being forced to move around to fill the holes the graduating seniors left, the coaching staff is tasked with trying to see who fits where.

“We’re continuously trying to figure out who can do what,” Vaughn said.

The group that could make or break the Bulldogs’ season is the offensive line. No starters return from last season, although, according to Vaughn, Trevor Garner “played as much as anybody.”

“It’s the hardest position on the team to replace,“ Vaughn said of the O-line. “Hopefully you have guys that have some experience playing there, which we do, most have been playing it for a few years in junior varsity ball.

“So, as far as the line goes experience isn’t really the problem — depth is.”

According to Tisdale, the offensive lineman are doing better in practice, which should make him happier than anybody.

“I know that I’ve got to work harder until they get better,” Tisdale said of the offensive line. “You just have to put the people there who want to work.”

Tisdale finished last season with 1,163 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, but he won’t be relying on the offensive line as much as he did last season as he tries for his goal of 2,500 all-purpose yards.

According to Vaughn, Tisdale and junior running back Kendrick Edgerson will line up in the slot receiver position when they aren’t in the backfield. The new wrinkle is a way to help a passing attack that lost Percy Arnold and Joseph Stewart.

Arnold finished last season with 22 receptions for 581 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Stewart totaled 20 receptions, 489 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns to go with 300 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

“You don’t replace them,” Vaughn said of the duo. “You learn to adjust your offense to what you have.”

That philosophy will also be on display on the other side of the ball as a defensive secondary that lost Stewart, the Commercial’s SEARK Defensive Player of the Year, looks to adjust.

“We have a very inexperienced secondary,” Vaughn said. “All these guys have potential, just not a lot of experience.”