HOLT: Crowe finds leaders among youngsters
Thu. August 23, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
New Holt head coach Kenny Crowe works with a player during blocking drills at practice last week. (Photo by Kelly Lambert)
HOLT | Kenny Crowe is a first-year head coach at Holt High School, but he didn’t have to introduce himself to the players.
Crowe, who directed the defensive line last season, was promoted to replace Tim Gillespie, who coached the Ironmen to a 3-7 record. Gillespie became the head coach at Sparkman.
“I like the fact that our kids are willing to work hard,” said Crowe, who has been an offensive and defensive coordinator at Holt. “We’re still very young with a majority of freshmen and sophomores, but there are some leaders in that group. We’ve started off fall camp with a very positive attitude. Hard work and character are the two main things. Discipline, if you don’t have that you’re program’s going to collapse, but you’ve also got to surround yourself with good people. That goes with coaches and players alike.”
Sophomore quarterback Devonte Jenkins will be a runner and passer in Crowe’s multiple-formation offense.
“He came into his own in the spring, running the ball,” Crowe said. “He started for us as a freshman last year. With that year of experience he’s got a lot more confidence. He’s been instructed all summer long if there’s nobody open to take off running with it. I want the defense to have to account for everybody.”
Jarvis Scott, Zuriel Kirkwood and Shamar Sims are running backs.
“Those three are interchangeable in our offense,” Crowe said. “They all bring something different to the table. Zuriel is the main one we split out in the slot (receiver position). He’s also our backup quarterback. He can do a number of things.”
Brian Murray will line up at tight end in certain sets. Kentrell Hardy and Marcell Kirkland are wide receivers.
Robert Jones, Anthony Averrett and Hank George are candidates to start on the offensive line, but Crowe said he wants to see players improving through competition.
“Like I tell the kids, every day is a different battle,” Crowe said. “Just because you’re the starter right now does not mean you’re going to end the week there. You’ve got to continue to work hard and get better every day.
“We’re going to be a running team. I want to try to control the clock and shorten the game and put a lot of pressure on the defense. We’ll do a lot of misdirections, a lot of options, a lot of counters, a lot of sweeps. We’ve got to eliminate turnovers and create some. We haven’t created turnovers around here in many years.”
Crowe said his defense will feature three linemen and four linebackers.
“We’re going to be an attacking defense,” he said. “We’re not going to have the size to sit back and just play a base. We’re going to have to try to come at our opponents from all angles, try to make them very uncomfortable in what they like doing.”
Andrew Stephens, Trent Garduno and Averrett are prospects for the line spots, with Murray, Scott, Kirkland and Sims at linebacker. Israel Kirkwood and Zuriel Kirkwood are probable starters at cornerback. Hardy is expected to start at one of the safety positions.
School: Holt High School
Classification: AHSAA Class 3A, Region 3
2011 record: 3-7
2011 playoffs: none
Head coach: Kenny Crowe (first year at Holt)
Assistant coaches: James Tidwell, defensive coordinator/assistant head coach; Garrett Hutchinson, defensive backs; Michael Yessick, running backs
Returning starters: 12
Keep an eye on: QB Devonte Jenkins (6-2, 170, So.), OL/DL Robert Jones (6-1, 200, Sr.), RB/CB Zuriel Kirkwood (5-6, 160, So.)
Key games: Sept. 7 Northside, Oct. 5 at Greensboro, Oct. 19 Sipsey Valley
Aug. 31 at Calera
Sept. 7 Northside*
Sept. 14 at Greene County*
Sept. 21 American Christian Acad.*
Sept. 28 Billingsley
Oct. 5 at Greensboro*
Oct. 12 at Fayette County*
Oct. 19 Sipsey Valley*
Oct. 26 at Gordo*
Nov. 2 Brookwood
* Denotes region game