Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 18, 2012

Elrod, Sheets to log two-way time for Sequoyah

Position primer: Sequoyah's Offensive Line

Few 3A schools in the state — or schools of any size, for that matter — have seen the amount of attention from college coaches and media outlets that Sequoyah has garnered this spring.

“Houston was here yesterday. Mississippi State will be here tomorrow,” said Sequoyah head coach Brent Scott as he casually observed the closing minutes of the team’s second day in full pads.

So common is the site of collegiate talent-spotters, that even a local sports reporter can be mistaken for a coach — twice in two weeks — if he wears a polo adorned with a logo or a swoosh. The misconception, then, is likely that of a crowded football factory with 70 kids in uniform; very few of whom are being asked to play pivotal roles on both sides of the ball.

Despite appearances, however, the Indians have no such luxury. Fewer than 40 players will take the field for spring practice this afternoon; half of them are likely to see significant playing time in the fall. Depth is scarce, particularly at positions like wide receiver and running back.

Still, if the age-old adage that “games are won and lost in the trenches” holds true, this group should be primed to win well after the leaves turn. That’s because one of its strongest units also features a rare semblance of two-deep reinforcements.

“We have the luxury of depth along our offensive line,” said Scott. “But some of those guys are going to turn around and play defensive line. That’s a concern. They’re going to have to play a lot, so it’s a chess match.”

Among those pulling double duty, center Tanner Sheets will also see time on the outside of the defensive line in a 5-technique.

“Tanner Sheets is one of the best linemen that we’ve had here,” said Scott. “We take a lot of pride in the fact that every year we’ve been here, we’ve had all-star linemen, and Tanner is as good as we’ve had. He really anchors the offensive line.”

Sheets, who can play any position on the offensive front, is joined by fellow-utility man, Greydon Elrod. Elrod is currently listed as the team’s starting fullback, but is also a capable guard, and will start on the interior of the defensive line — lining up in a 3-technique.

“He can run,” said Scott. “He’s a guy that runs the 110 (-meter dash) and throws the shot. He’s a 4.8-4.9 guy, which is pretty fast in 3A. We haven’t had to ask a lot of our fullback the last couple of years, but Greydon is a prototypical fullback.”

One of four team captains, Elrod confirmed his willingness to play where he is needed, and acknowledged the additional burden of responsibility that comes with being a two-way senior.

“There’s always added responsibility this year,” he said. “We lost a lot of seniors. We have to take charge this year. We want to be better on defense than we were last year. It’s going to be hard to beat, but I know we can do it. We’ve done nothing but improve.”

While Elrod provides Swiss Army knife-esque depth, Sheets is the only true returning starter on the offensive line. Scott will be looking to another up-and-comer to fulfill his potential, and stabilize the front.

“Elijah Tucker is special,” he said. “You’ll be hearing a lot about him. He’ll be another guy whose picture is up on the board. He really proved himself to me. He’s a heck of a football player.”

He’ll need to be. Balancing the run with the pass and keeping the state’s top passer, Brayden Scott, upright is paramount in relation to the Indians’ postseason aspirations in 2012.

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