WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - We start week 3 of our Training Camp Road Trip by staying in District 5-3A Div. II with the City View Mustangs. After missing the playoffs last year for the first time in 3 seasons, they will be young, but hungry in 2016.
"We lost a lot of people last year," said senior Danny Ho. "But we also have a great group of young kids stepping up."
The Mustangs bring back 15 letter-winners from 2015, but when it comes to upperclassmen with starting experience at the skill positions, it's not a very long list. That means a lot of competition in camp.
"We have a lot of guys competing for positions, and they understand that," said head coach Rudy Hawkins. "They look at the depth chart every day. That thing's been moving up and down."
The Mustangs will have to fill the hole left by graduated running back 'Tray Jordan, the school's all-time leading rusher. After being a bit of a running back factory over the years, they're looking at more of a committee approach this season.
"The pipeline's been great with Gus [Barnes], and D.J. Brown and D.J. Coursey, and then 'Tray Jordan and all those guys," coach Hawkins said. "It's going to be more of a committee this year, so you won't see a guy with that many carries."
"I feel like we're using not only our outside receivers, but also using our slots," said Ho, who is the team's top returning receiver. "We're quicker off the ball, we're throwing a lot more passes."
"I think we're going to be faster," agreed senior quarterback Tamell Monroe. "We're going to use a lot more weapons now. We're going to use different receivers, different play tactics now."
Monroe took over at quarterback in the second half of last season, and is back this year as a senior. He and his coach say he's improved with the off-season.
"[I'm] just smarter," Monroe said. "I've gotten faster, and that's a big key to our offense right now."
"You know, he came in last year for us, and did a good job, and had a great summer in 7-on-7," said coach Hawkins. "Threw the ball really well, and has become a leader of the football team."
The strength of the offense should be on the line, with a good number of seniors back, including Brayden Voigt and Triston Anderson.
"We're senior-heavy up front," coach Hawkins said. "We're kinda young at the skill positions, besides Monroe and Danny Ho. We've got seniors up front, so hopefully the leadership and the maturity level that we have up front will hopefully help those young backs."
Defense has been an issue for the Mustangs for a few years. They've allowed over 30 points per game each of the past three seasons. They have made a few adjustments schematically, but the big change should come down to mind-set.
"In the past we'd liked to outscore people," coach Hawkins said. "We had a lot of high-scoring games in the past. But this year's group really is tightening down, want to anchor the defense up and play better defense this year."
"We moved me and Tyrese [Smith]," said Ho. "We were linebackers last year, but they moved us to the edge as defensive ends to make it a lot faster. We can go get contain and everything. Me and Tyrese putting a lot of pressure really makes it easier for the secondary to get all the bad passes me and Tyrese force on the quarterbacks."
If the defense can come together, and the offensive line holds up to let the young skill players shine ,the Mustangs hope to make noise in the new, six-team, District 5-3A Div. II.
"It makes things a little bit easier, I can't lie to you," Monroe said. "But we're not trying to give anybody any doubts right now. We're going to go hard in every game that we play."
The Mustangs open their season on Friday, August 26 on the road at Quanah.
Tuesday night, we'll continue in District 5-3A Div. II with the Henrietta Bearcats.
City View Mustangs 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 at Quanah, 7
Sept. 2 at Ponder, 7:30
Sept. 9 vs Electra, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Paradise, 7:30
Sept. 23 BYE
Sept. 30 at Alvord, 7
Oct. 7 vs Millsap, 7*
Oct. 14 at Holliday, 7*
Oct. 21 vs Nocona, 7*
Oct. 28 vs Jacksboro, 7*
Nov. 4 at Henrietta, 7*