By DAVID CLAYBOURN
Not only is Marvin Sedberry back with the Greenville Lions for a third time but he’s also brought back spring football training.
Sedberry, who returned to the Lions for last season after coaching in Bryan and Alief, has opted for the Lions go through three weeks of spring training in preparation for the 2013 football season rather than taking the extra week in the fall. The University Interscholastic League gives 5A and 4A programs the option of spring training or the extra week. The Lions for several years skipped spring training.
“We need spring ball,” said Sedberry, after watching Monday’s practice on the field turf at T.A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium. “I think right now it’s just a process of them trying to do what we’ve been doing in offseason the last few months in shorts. Now we’re doing it in pads.”
The Lions will practice football during their athletic period and then after school for 18 workouts ending with the Red-White spring game on May 23 at Ford Stadium. During Monday’s practice the Lions worked in groups by position and also worked the offense against the defense.
“Right now my goal number one is identifying some players, some projected starters,” said Sedberry. “Number two, just become better football players. Become more physical. Become more disciplined.”
Sedberry said he could still go either way on the choice of spring training or the extra week in the fall.
“I’m thinking you need spring when you’re trying to get your program in,” he said.
The Lions are making some major changes on defense, going to an odd-numbered front, but are adding only a few new wrinkles on offense, Sedberry said. “Just a few new things,” he said.
Sedberry and his staff, including defensive coordinator Darren Duke and offensive coordinator Spencer Gilbert, are working with about 95 players.
The 2012 Lions went 0-10, averaging 201.6 yards and 10.6 points per game, while giving up averages of 366.4 yards and 31.0 points.
Their top passer and rusher Marquist Davis was a senior last season, along with their top four receivers. Davis rushed for 632 yards and four touchdowns on 154 carries last season and was 53-of-116 passing for 502 yards and four scores. Eric Quiroz (12-165, 3 TDs) and Michael Hernandez (12-94, 1 TD) were the Lions’ leading receivers.
Expected back are their second-leading rusher, Tyler Matthews (88-404, 1 TD), and second-leading passer, Matt Riskey (6-24-1, 71 yards, 1 TD).
Other top returnees include all-district offensive lineman Dillon Stevens and all-district defensive end John Franklin.
The Lions’ 2013 season opener is set for Aug. 30 at Princeton.