Riggs recaps TRM’s 2014 spring training
Published 9:20 am Thursday, February 20, 2014
T.R. Miller Tiger head football coach Jamie Riggs and his staff saw 72 players in grades nine through 12 suit up for Friday’s annual Red and White game—a game that signals the end of the Tigers’ spring training period. T.R. Miller practiced for eight days this spring and had their game on Friday.
Of the 72 players, 20 players will be seniors for the upcoming season while 15 will be juniors, 20 will be sophomores and 17 will be freshmen.
Riggs said the 2014 spring training period for his squad, as well as others he has been involved with, shows him many things about his players.
“Spring football is really to show you who is ready to play football for you in the fall,” Riggs said. “Obviously some guys have improved and gotten a little bit stronger. Some of them just because they know they have a better opportunity to play. They come out and really put their heart into it more.”
Riggs also said that during the spring training period, there is always time to work on fundamentals.
“While working on fundamentals, I want to learn something about their work ethic,” Riggs said. “I also want to see their attitudes about things as well. Spring training to me is about finding out a lot about our players. We want to put them in tough situations, and certainly the weather helped us out a little bit with that this year. I learned a lot about them and now it is our job to take the next few months and improve ourselves physically and then try to mold them together as a team. Certainly the more I know about them, the better opportunity I have to mold them together as a team.”
Riggs said as far as the game Friday went, he really like his team’s effort.
“I was really pleased with that,” Riggs said. “Obviously there were some folks who really showed they could do some things in the game that will benefit as we line them up for positions in the fall. For instance, if we are weak at one position, we would need to move somebody over. Some times you may need someone to work two positions instead of one. Those are some things that we learned during the game about it.”
Another thing Riggs noted about spring training was being able to experiment with a few things.
“We experimented with some new offensive schemes or a new defensive look,” Riggs said. “We did a few new plays or put someone in a different position. Sometimes you find that to be good while at other times it is not so good. Considering all those things, I thought we had successful spring training. We still have a long way to go, but we have a little while to get there. We really have some issues on just toughness to handle the schedule we are going to have to play next year and also just from a standpoint of work ethic. We have a ways to go with those things, but that is part of my job. I have to get us ready to play before next fall.”
Riggs said the key to his 2014 team will be the experience of his senior class.
“We have some experience there, but they will have to do a good job of teaching our juniors and sophomores,” Riggs said. “They will need to teach them how to lead and how to work. If they do that, then hopefully we will get more of our sophomores and juniors to be able to contribute on Friday nights. That is what you really need them to do whether it is covering a kickoff or backing up a linebacker. That will be one of our real keys to doing that and our success next year.”
One new face that will be at a key position in 2014 for the Tigers will be Jones Manning at the quarterback position.
“Jones will be a senior and certainly has a lot of things going for him at that position,” Riggs said. “I thought he did well during the two-week period. Chardian Johnson will be a junior for us. Chardian played wider receiver and defensive back for us last year and some quarterback. He came out and played quarterback for us this spring and I can see some improvement in the things he did for us even though he was only with us for four days due to still playing basketball. We will see how all that goes. We have some time to look at some things and will look at that when it gets closer to our summer workout time.”
T.R. Miller will be in a region with Bayside Academy, Cottage Hill, Excel, Geneva, Hillcrest-Evergreen, and Opp. While Riggs said his schedule for the upcoming season is not complete, T.R. Miller will play at Andalusia in week one of the 2014 season and will end with a home game against W.S. Neal. T.R. Miller will also play a non-region game against Atmore with one other game left to be scheduled.
“It is not finished as of yet,” Riggs said. “I hope to have it done here in the next three or four weeks.”
With spring training now over, Riggs said his team will continue to work in the off-season in preparation for summer and fall camp.
“I really appreciate all our coaches and managers and all those who have been involved,” Riggs said. “We kind of go in early and do our spring training fast-paced for two weeks. Other places string it out and slow it down. I really think this works pretty well for us. Now we can go on and play our other spring sports. Our coaches will get some time off in May after we get through with track and baseball and other state playoff stuff. School is a week later this year so we will have a little bit more time in May. That will give my coaches a little more time off and our team some time off at the end of the year before we get summer workouts going. The schedule is constantly adjusting from the schools and from the state.
“We will organize our summer stuff later on. Our summer will be a week shorter this year, but we will get after it.”