SNEEDVILLE—The defense for the Cosby High Eagles will be a primary focus through the summer.
Cosby has not seen too many changes to their team this spring. A slight change here and there on offense has the Eagles moving in the right direction, quickly. On the defensive side, however, Cosby is still trying to make adjustments to improve as much as it can through the summer months.
The Eagles have entered a new era on the defensive side after hiring Justin Hite as the defensive coordinator. Hite is now entering his second season as the defensive coordinator and has a vision for his side of the ball.
“This is spring football right now,” Hite said. “That means we are trying some guys out in new positions and seeing what we can do. We want to get our basic stuff down. I’ve seen some guys make some big plays and I’ve seen some guys needing some improving. We can stop the run and that is our priority.”
Head coach Kevin Hall and Hite realize the defense is the area Cosby lacks at heading into the offseason. This has created a key focal point for the two once fall camp rolls around.
“We haven’t had too much time to work on defense much,” Hall said. “You know just having a week of spring practice, you have to get in as much as you can. We will continue to work on the defensive side to get where we need to be.”
During the 2018 season, the Eagles’ defense had a difficult time stopping opposing teams from putting up points on the board, making the offense play catch up more often than not.
What made it even harder for Hall and Hite was having players fatigued due to playing both sides of the ball considering the shortage of depth Cosby’s football program experiences from year to year.
As for this spring, though, Cosby has a great number of returnees and have picked up some new faces along the way. If all sticks, the only way for this defense is up.
“If we get this defense where they need to be, we will be pretty good,” Hall said. “For the most part, run game wise, we look really good. We have gotten older and some senior leaders up on the front now. We have some big and athletic kids.”
Last season, the problem with the defensive line was inexperience. Now, one season out of the way and a few more big bodies up front, Cosby has improved at the frontline. The scrimmage against Hancock County proved it too, as Hancock County struggled to rush up the middle against the Eagles.
With girth and experience building up front, the attention now turns to the linebacking core and secondary group. While talent isn’t an issue at either area, though, depth is still a concern with most of the backside of the defense having to play several snaps on offense, as well.
“We have to be able to stop the ball on the outside,” Hall said. “We have to work on our pass coverage with linebackers. We spend so much time yelling ‘stop the run, stop the run,’ but we haven’t been able to take too much time to practice the pass coverages.”
Conditioning and position depth is the solution for that. Once Hall and Hite find more depth in each position within the secondary the problem shrinks.
Hite believes this problem can be fixed by the time week one of the 2019 season rolls around for the Eagles.
“We’ve had a lot of energy and have had a bunch of kids come out for the spring,” Hite said. “The guys are eager to learn but we have to improve each day. We will look at the film and get some more practices in and get better on the defensive side of the ball.
“We are committed. These group of guys that have shown up all spring are committed.”
As each practice passes, each film session is attended and each game is played, the Eagles can only move forward with the defense they have.