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ET Football: Pine Tree takes field for spring game tonight

By Brandon Ogden
May 22, 2014 at 11 p.m.


David Collins is bringing a jolt of energy to the Pine Tree Pirates.

That was evident during one of the Pirates' final spring practices Wednesday afternoon at the practice field.

"Energy, energy, energy," Collins yelled just more than 20 minutes into the session.

"Hurry up." "It's OK to run full speed." "If you come over here, you better be playing 100 miles an hour. Don't come over here unless you're ready to go."

Those were just some of the expressions you could hear come from Collins at the recent workout. Collins was fired up, and why wouldn't he be?

His first spring as a head football coach is coming to an end after four weeks of hard work. The Pirates will head into the summer with a plan, with an idea of what steps need to be taken in the fall to make them a competitive football team, to end their string of being just another win on everyone's schedule.

"Coach Collins is fixing everything," running back Quay Ward said. "He doesn't accept failure or losing. Every day is win, fast and speed. All that's on his mind is winning and team.

"We're trying to become a family, and it hasn't always been that way in the past. Coach Collins has really brought us together as a team."

The new-look Pirates will be on display in their spring game at 7:15 p.m. tonight at Pirate Stadium.

The first-team offense will go against the second-team defense, and the second-team offense will oppose the first-team defense for three series of plays each. The first series will be 12 plays, followed by a 10-play series and then an eight-play series for both units.

Following those six series of plays, there will be a full 12-minute quarter with the first-team offense going against the first-team defense. There will be no punts. The ball will be moved 30 yards down the field on fourth down. Field goals and extra points will be attempted against no defense.

"No. 1, we want to stay healthy. We don't want to lose anybody," Collins said. "No. 2, I just want to see the kids enjoy playing. I want them to go out there and do what we've been practicing for the last three and a half weeks. I just want to see them go out there and execute it and not freeze up in front of people. Just go out there and make plays, have fun, let loose and just go play the game."

On offense, Collins said he's been pleased with the play of the running backs and the offensive line.

"From the quarterback play," he said, "there are times we've got some bright spots, and there are times where the grenade kind of goes off in our heads, and we think a little too much. But they're young guys. That's what you expect from young guys.

"There have been some ups and downs, but I expect both (quarterbacks) Dylan Lightfoot and Daniel Bonamy to come out and play pretty well. They're learning in a system that's not complicated, but it's very different from what they've been asked to do. Once they figure it out, we're going to be in great shape."

Other offensive standouts in the spring, according to Collins, have been Jonathan Giddings, Ward and Bryant Williams.

On defense, Collins gushed about the defensive line, which features Irving Shen, Alfred Dixon, Jakorey Sherow, Alex Kuitko and Bushe Morgan.

"I think from a defensive line perspective, we've got potential to be really good," the coach said. "I think they've got to do a better job of playing within the system, but talent wise, we've got some great players.

"I've really enjoyed what I've seen from those guys. I really think those five guys, as a whole, are going to be pretty dang good."

When practice came to a close on Wednesday, Collins gathered all of the players around him and said, "The preparation is over. Now, you have to perform."

The Pirates' first performance under the direction of Collins is tonight.

<em>(Follow Brandon Ogden on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/brandonosports" target="_blank">@BrandonOSports</a>)</em>

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