Panthers improving despite numbers

Published 10:41 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

The Jemison football team this spring has experienced some firsts, and not necessarily the good kind.

Because of the loss of 17 players to graduation—and 23 more for other reasons—from last year’s team, many Panthers are having to learn how to play both ways for the first time in coach Brad Abbott’s six-year tenure.

And that’s not all.

“This is the first time we’ve finished up the spring and I’ve known everybody’s name,” Abbott said.

Subdued at first—maybe because of the inexperience or the low number of players on the field or both—the Panthers have started to come around.

“The first week of practice was boring because nobody was talking,” Abbott said. “I think a lot of that was unfamiliarity. This week has been better maybe because they have a comfort zone.”

Jemison’s comfort zone will be tried Saturday when the Panthers play Maplesville in a spring game beginning at 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

“We have about six guys that we know their ability,” Abbott said. “The other 38, we’re trying to find out what they can do.”