Blanket's Tabor Looking to return to playoff chase in six-man Division II District 13
By James David
BLANKET- Tyler Tabor is ready to get after it. Going into his third season as head coach of the Blanket Tigers, Tabor is coming off a 5-6 season where the Tigers made the bi-district finals. Not an easy feat considering three time state champion Richland Springs has dominated the 6-man Division II ranks over the past four seasons.
“They may not have the depth their used to over there at Richland Springs, but they have a lot of returning players with experience,” Tabor said. “Until someone else comes along to knock them off, I've got them number one in the coaches poll.”
“I don't know why their not ranked number one in the state to be honest with you,” Tabor said.
Turning his attention to his own team, Tabor is optimistic that 18-20 kids will show up for the first practice of two-a-days on Monday. With the exception of Tyler Martinez at quarterback and safety all of the positions on the team are up for grabs.
“We're looking for some of the young kids to step up and compete for those starting slots,” Tabor said.
Tabor begins the season with five freshman and five seniors.
“We had a lot more speed on the team last year than we do this year,” Tabor said. “Hopefully some of the young kids have some speed.”
Looking toward his other district competition, Tabor sees the race as a tight one, with no one to be counted out before the first snap.
“Mullin always looks good, we had some speed on Mullin last year, but we don't this year. I look to Mullin to maybe be a sleeper team this year,” Tabor said.
“At Brookesmith, (Jeremy) Coach Black's going to have them better. They may sneak up on somebody this season,” Tabor said.
“It's new every season,” Tabor said.
“ Martinez will be my go to guy, my scorer.
I have to keep Martinez healthy so he can run the ball, but still play safety and make some defensive plays. He's also going to have to have a bigger role offensively. Last year I had more speed in the backfield that I don't this year,” Tabor said.
So, Martinez will be getting his hands on the ball on virtually every play, running the option and so forth.
“Defensively, we're pretty strong. My center will probably be Wesley Musick. He took some snaps last year and is getting better. What we need are a running back and receivers. The newer kids are going to have to step up,” Tabor said.
With the new UIL Rules pertaining to two-a-days, the coaches cannot conduct two-a-day practices on two consecutive days, a factor which doesn't bother Tabor.
“In My 20 years of coaching, I have never practiced twice a day. The players need time to recuperate,” Tabor said.
The new rule about 90 minutes per week in full pads will be an adjustment for some coaches, according to Tabor. “The time where you are working in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts doesn't count against the 90 minute rule, so we'll be fine,” Tabor said.
The athletic locker room at Blanket is being worked on in the aftermath of the tornado damage of last May so the players will be without air conditioning for at least two weeks while practice starts.
“It'll be old school, make them tougher,” Tabor said.