Rams ready to step up game this season
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Aug. 19, 2011
As football practices began last week, the Rockville Rams have a higher set of expectations than last year. The Rams had just one win last season, and although the competition doesn't look any easier, the team's numbers and overall experience should lead to an improvement.
Coach Dave Jedidian said he was happy after the first two days of practice. “So far, it's been pretty good,” he said. “Our numbers are up from last year. Everyone was excited the first day, but it's the second day that matters [due to attrition which is not uncommon], and we had every single person come back.”
Six seniors left the team last year. The coach said he expects about six seniors to start on offense, and the same number on defense this fall. Guessing, since all of the jobs are still up for grabs at this stage, Jedidian said he expects seniors at quarterback and fullback, and a group of juniors and sophmores at wingback and receiver. “That gives our younger guys a chance to step up,” he said, “so, next year, we can have some experience, too.”
Jedidian said increased speed will be a factor, especially on the defensive side of the ball. “We have a lot more speed this year,” he said. “Last year we had two kids running under a 5-second 40. This year, we have 10, including three kids running between 4.4 and 4.6. It frees us up if our D-backs are faster than they were, so that allows us to bring more pressure, especially if we go man-to-man. We were in a defense last year in the first game, that required more speed than we had, so we came out of it for the rest of the year. Now, we can come back and actually run that defense this year.”
Offensively, Jedidian said, the increased speed will allow the team to throw in extra plays to stretch the field. Overall, there is a much improved attitude toward the game. “The kids seem dedicated,” said Jedidian. “The seniors are battle-tested from a very rough year last year, but we've had some kids work hard in the gym. A couple of our kids can squat over 500 pounds. The outlook is better than last year.”
Jedidian said the team's schedule, which slots them against some different teams, is tougher than last year, but so are the Rams. “If you look at those teams, over the past two years most of them have been to the playoffs,” he said. “We definitely have a tough schedule, but I think our guys will come together, and be all right. We're going to compete.” The Rams' first game is at home vs. Rocky Hill on Sept. 16. For a complete schedule, visit www.casciac.org.