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Kilgore College wraps up drills with spring game

By Jack Stallard
May 2, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Kilgore College will put the finishing touches on spring practice tonight with the team's annual spring football game, and head coach J.J. Eckert doesn't think he'll have any trouble getting the Rangers fired up for the event.

"We started the year with the whole mindset of clocking in and becoming the best team we can possibly be each day," Eckert said. "They've done a great job of going out each day and trying to improve.

"This is not a year where we've had to teach work ethic. From day one, from the morning workouts, to the weight workouts to spring practice, we've not had to lure them out there. They've been ready to go to work each day."

The Rangers are coming off a 3-6 season that saw them miss the playoffs for just the second time in the past 11 seasons. That memory, along with the return of veterans in key positions, has Eckert hoping for a solid finish to the spring - and better yet - a quick start when the 2012 season begins.

The Rangers opened the 2011 season with four straight losses.

Eckert said the defense, which started eight freshmen against Blinn and nine against Tyler a year ago, has been a major bright spot during the spring.

"Playing that many freshmen last year is paying dividends now," he said. "We're so much further along with those guys back. We're playing the run well and we're sound in pass drops and coverages. We're not giving up the big plays. We're going to make teams earn it."

Offensively, Eckert said he wants to see more from the running game.

"We have two good tailbacks in Ja'mell Woodard (477 yards in 2011) and Terrence Simon, but we haven't run the ball consistently," Eckert said. "It's not just the backs. We haven't gotten the offensive line playing as one yet."

The spring game will use a scoring system that allows the offense and defense to gather points. Offensively, first downs or extra points are worth one point, a play longer than 30 yards is worth two points, a field goal is worth three points and a touchdown is worth six points.

Defensively, forced punts or negative plays are worth one point, sacks and three-and-outs are worth two points, turnovers are worth three points and a turnover for a touchdown is worth nine points.

NOTES: The Rangers will open the season at home on Sept. 1 against Dodge City, Kan.

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