PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky coach for Saturday’s Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl plans to utilize his team speed in the contest against West Virginia.
Jeff Norman, who is a 1990 graduate of Belfry High School, is excited about the game.
Norman, who played for Philip Haywood at Belfry, is the former head coach at Shelby Valley and was an assistant to Sean Hager at Sheldon Clark last season. He will be coaching at Perry Central this fall.
“We’re a little thin on the line,” Norman said, no pun intended. “We had some kids that didn’t show up.”
He said several of those kids were linemen who decided not to play for various reasons.
“We still may have a couple of kids show up,” an optimistic Norman said. “But if they don’t, we’ll play with what we have.”
The starting quarterback for the squad will be Randy Maynard of Pikeville High School. Joining Maynard in the backfield will be Trey Willis at fullback, Josh Dixon at one running back spot and Justin Smith at the other halfback slot. Willis and Dixon are Belfry alumni, while Smith is a Pike Central grad.
Former Pike Central quarterback Alan Boggs elected not to play in the all-star game because he has been rehabbing an injury, according to Coach Norman. He would have likely used both signal callers if he had them. But, he is pleased with Maynard’s leadership.
The split end will be Belfry’s Gary Runyon and the tight end will be Micah Harlow who played for Allen Central.
“We plan to mix it up on offense,” Norman said after practice on Tuesday. “With the rules on the game, you are supposed to throw the football 15 times.”
Norman indicated that the passing rule falls in line with his offensive game plan.
“It depends on what the defense gives us,” Norman said. “We have some good running backs that run the ball hard.”
Defensively, Norman hopes the speed he has on the Kentucky roster will help make up for any lack of size. He has been pleased with Kody Trivette of Pike Central and Kory Jarrell of Betsy Layne on defense in the early practices this week. He said Willis and Dixon will likely play on both sides of the ball.
Teams are not allowed to blitz until they get inside of the 10-yard line. So this should even things down in the trenches. Plus, the rule has always been in the game because of safety concerns and the fact that the players only get five days to practice.
“I think our secondary will be strong,” Norman added.
Norman said he is also at a disadvantage in regards to his assistant coaching staff. Due to the fact that the Bluegrass State has already started high school practice, most coaches are busy with their own teams.
“I look forward to the game,” Norman said. “I hope we can give them a good game.”