The Gordon Lee Trojans had just finished up some conditioning drills last Thursday, but several of the players were not ready to go home just yet.
Many of the linemen had asked for a classroom session with head coach Charlie Wiggins to go over some of the new formations and blocking schemes that the Trojans plan to implement for the 2013 season.
“That’s a really good thing,” said Wiggins, now in his second season as head coach. “They want more information and that’s a part of how you learn.”
Learning has been a big point of emphasis for the Navy-and-White in the spring. Wiggins has chosen to forego the pads and concentrate on specific elements of the game plan, especially from a offensive standpoint.
“We’re going to have to play a lot of people, especially early in the season when it’s still hot, and you never know when injuries will occur,” he explained. “We may have to put some of those younger ones into the fire and that’s why we’re out here in shorts and T-shirts. There’s no sense coming out here and losing someone (to injury) when we still have such a long way to go.
“This way, we can do a lot more teaching and get a lot more guys some reps so they can get better and hopefully help us this season.”
Last season was an up-and-down one for the Trojans.
After a season-opening 28-0 loss to LFO, Gordon Lee put up over 33 points a game in winning their next five contests.
But following their bye week, the Trojans dropped the final four games of the regular season and failed to score in three of them. Gordon Lee snuck into the Class A public school state playoffs as the No. 14 seed, but dropped a 46-12 opening-round game at ECI, who went on to win the state title.
While the Trojans bring back several key players from 2012, they will also have to replace a large number of seniors, many of whom had started for two, three and even four years.
“From an experience standpoint, it’s not good,” Wiggins admitted, “but on the other hand, it gives you a lot of guys that want to go out there and prove themselves. They see a lot of opportunities in front of them with all these older guys graduating, and how they deal with those opportunities is what can set them apart.”
Along with some returning skill position players, the Trojans expect the offensive line to be a strength this fall.
“Four of the five (offensive linemen) that started our final game last year will be back, but we still need depth,” Wiggins said. “If you don’t have depth, you’re in trouble because you have to be able to give those guys a rest.”
Wiggins also said that establishing depth across the board would be another focus this spring.
“We still have quite a bit coming back, so it’s just a matter of upping their reps and getting them to improve,” he added. “Plus, we’re looking for those next two or three guys at each spot. You can’t play with only 15 or 20 kids. We need 25 or 30 kids to be ready so we can put them in if we need them on Friday nights.”
The Trojans will not hold a spring game. They will open the regular season on Aug. 30 with a trip to LFO.