PADUCAH — According to McCracken County head football coach Marc Clark, one of the biggest misses of not having a normal spring came with the new hire of Brad Lawson as his defensive coordinator.
The former Mayfield/Graves County/Hopkinsville assistant was last a head coach with the Calloway County Lakers — going 13-20 before stepping away in 2014 due to health reasons.
He served under Clark in Hoptown in 2015, where the Tigers went 10-2 on the way to a berth in the regional championship game against Franklin-Simpson.
“The one thing about the quarantine is if we would’ve had spring ball, then we would’ve gotten to implement a little bit more,” Clark said. “We’re going to make some adjustments to alignment structures, tweak some more coverages the way (Lawson) wants them.
“But I told him when he came in, just with the situation that we’re in, we have to have as much carry over as possible.
“The hardest part for coach Lawson right now is with not having spring ball, it’s not having three or four weeks together assessing some personnel. Obviously, we’re going to have to move some pieces to replace a Kolton (Reeves) and a Trusdin (Hildreth) and a (Ethan) McKendree. We’re going to have to move some guys around. He doesn’t get that assessment period, so he’s kind of going to be relying on us.”
Luckily for Lawson, McCracken’s defense does have eight starters returning in 2020, which includes Isaiah Keys, Hunter Vlach, Dalton Skinner, Keiron Perez, Colton Crowell, Ian McCune, Jackson Gruber, and 2019 Paducah Sun All-Purchase defensive lineman LeAndre Bolen Jr., who finished with a team-high 14 sacks last season.
“I think people don’t talk about Leandre Bolen (enough) because he’s kind of a constant,” Clark said. “You know he’s going to get his plays in. But they think, maybe, he’s a specialist or whatever. But he’s a problem. He’s young, and so people don’t really account for him because he is so young. But he’s a problem.
“I think we, arguably, have the best offensive linemen — multiple, highly-touted offensive linemen — and he gives them problems every single day.”