Andrews started the 2018 season 6-0, but lost their final four games, including their first round playoff game.
“Last year is last year,” Durham said. “We had a lot of guys that graduated and some of that was bad, some of it was good. We’re just trying to start over. We start every year from scratch. You try to build a team that is tough and physical and we have been progressing pretty well.”
Senior Francis Brown, last season’s starting quarterback and junior Eli Durham have been splitting reps in camp as the Yellow Jackets get ready for their first game.”
“Brown and Durham are splitting reps right now,” Durham said. “They are both playing a lot of defense also. Unless one of just them really surges ahead, we will probably just keep splitting reps on offense, with one resting because they both play so many minutes on defense.”
Andrews has lost running back Michael Pipkin, who led the team last year with 10 rushing TD’s and 793 all-purpose yards, but Coach Durham said the running back group can be very versatile this season.
“We have Franklin Grant stepping in at tailback,” Durham said. “Demetrius McCray is up from the JV team. Jarian Pinkney is going to get some carries. Our fullback, Keshaun Williams, is going to get a lot of carries as well. We may not have one guy that runs for 700 or 800 yards, but we will have a bunch of guys with 400 or 500 yards. “
Keshaun Williams, who had 8 TD’s and 759 rushing yards on 96 carries last season, will be a key contributor to the offense.
“He is a tremendous player and a great leader,” Durham said. “He is a great worker. He has to get in a little bit better shape but he is going to get the ball a lot. He is going to play a lot of defense. We have to keep pushing him, making him better and better.”
The defense has a lot of returning starters but the secondary will be very young.
“I think we are really strongest up front,” Durham said. “We have a lot of returning starters on the defensive line. We probably have the deepest core of linebackers we’ve ever had. We don’t have any experience in the secondary, so we really have to get better back there. We’re really just trying to develop some depth right now.”
Coach Durham said despite the weather restrictions, the team has responded well over the summer.
“I think this group has worked hard, both in the spring and the summer,” Durham said. “This preseason has been a little disjointed just for the fact that the weather has been so crazy. If it’s not heat, it’s lightning. It’s been hard to get in a rhythm for practice, but we’re getting there.”
The Yellow Jackets are ready for their first game and Coach Durham knows there is always room for improvement as they look for a playoff berth.
“I think we have a chance to be pretty good if we continue to get better every day,” Durham said. “If we don’t, we won’t. We just have to improve, get better and hopefully we will be playing our best football in November.”
8/30 HOME Hemingway
9/6 AWAY Waccamaw
9/13 AWAY Georgetown
9/20 HOME East Clarendon
9/27 HOME Johnsonville
10/4 AWAY Carvers Bay
10/11 AWAY Kingstree
10/18 HOME Latta
10/25 HOME Mullins
11/1 AWAY Hannah-Pamplico