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Demopolis opens practice

Monday marked the first official day of practice for AHSAA teams statewide. Allowed to don helmets for the first time all summer, Demopolis hit the field for its first round of two-a-days.

“I think we’re ahead of where we’ve been the first two years as far as assignments go,” third-year DHS head coach Tom Causey said.

Demopolis spent went through its customary team and position exercises before spending a portion of the Monday and Tuesday afternoon sessions working on special teams.

“We’re not as bad as it looked (Monday),” Causey said of the Tigers’ status on special teams. “The actual coverage part and the execution part was not bad. We’re not where we want to be with the actual physical part of kicking the football. But they’re working hard at it. It will get better.”

With only 23 days until they meet Wetumpka in the season opener, Demopolis coaches are attempting to identify their starting place kicker and punter. The 2008 Tiger team turned to Tyler and Alan Brooker for the place kicking duties and relied upon Jacob Kerby to flip field position on fourth down. With that trio having graduated, the kicking duties become like a number of others for the team.

“Every position up for battle right now,” Causey said.

Among the most prominent positions still up for grabs are the A-back spots, which features a talented quartet that includes seniors Anthony Hardy and Jeremy Wallace as well as sophomore Jerry Campbell and Kole Thrasher.

Junior Ben Pettus, who served as the team’s No. 2 quarterback a season ago, figures to have a leg up in the race for the starting job. He continues to split reps with junior Rusty Palmer, sophomore Logan Holley and freshman Tucker Jones, who are each vying for playing time.

The offensive front lost senior center Morgan LeCroy and left tackle Trey Oates off of last year’s team and is still working to identify all of its starters.

The Demopolis defense faces similar questions as it looks to replace graduated interior lineman Carl Johnson. UAB signee Greg Irvin and Auburn walk-on Kerby left vacancies in the linebacking corps while Troy University walk-on Brian Taylor left a hole on the depth chart in the secondary.

While a number of players have had productive summers, Causey is adamant that identifying starters remains impossible until players are able to suit up in full pads for the first time Thursday.

“Everybody in the state will tell you the same thing,” Causey said. “This helmets and shorts stuff is good, but we’ll find out what kind of team we are come Thursday evening and Friday afternoon when we put some pads on.”