The Meridian Star
While a 24-0 jamboree win over Neshoba Central last week was an encouraging start to the season, Meridian's first real test will come tonight, as the Wildcats open the 2013 season with a trip to Northwest Rankin at 7 p.m.
Head coach Larry Weems said the game will be a good indicator of where his young team stands, as the Wildcats will field a starting lineup with plenty of inexperienced players.
“Now it is here,” Weems said. “You better be able to handle the situation.”
During the jamboree last week, Weems said that inexperience resulted in too many self-inflicted penalties. This week, Weems has stressed to his team to play with more discipline, stating that if not fixed the penalties could come back to haunt the Wildcats over the course of a 48-minute game.
“You can't do that in games,” Weems said. “You can't keep making up that yardage, so we need to be more disciplined on the little things. When you have a young team, they are so focused on lining up in the right spots, they forget the little things. We have a long way to go.”
One area of experience for the Wildcats will come out of the backfield, as Meridian returns three senior running backs in Richard McQuarley, Ed Glenn and Austin Holt. Weems said he plans to rotate the backs while also moving them to different positions in attempt to give the Wildcats multiple looks on offense and keep each back fresh throughout the game. Last week Meridian rushed for 124 yards on just 16 carries against in one half against Neshoba.
“Rich (McQuarley) and Austin (Holt) have been great for us,” Weems said. “I've said all along that I love our running backs. Ed Glenn is also good back there. We have three guys that I feel really good about back there. They should be ready to go, because they are seniors and it's their time.”
Despite a 4-7 finish last year, Weems said he expects the Cougars to come out hungry and ready to challenge the Wildcats.
“They are used to being up there at the top and competing,” Weems said of Northwest Rankin “I'm sure they will come out excited in their first home contest, plus the fact that the Wildcats are coming to town –– every body likes to knock off the Wildcats.”