Summer Preview: Gibbs Eagles

Life in Region 1, 3A hasn't been real friendly to the Gibbs Eagles the past few seasons. Gibbs does have something to look forward to in 2006 though: experience. Can QB Aaron Large mature into the team leader and take these Eagles to new heights?

Gibbs High School

Head Coach: Randy Carroll
Mascot: Eagles
Located: Corryton, TN
Class/ Region: 3A, Region 1
2005 Record: 2-8, 2-4 Region

Base offense: Pro-I
Base defense: 4-3

2005 Schedule:

Aug. 26 at Scott R L 9-14
Sep. 2 at Union Co. R W 16-7
Sep. 9 Knoxville Halls L 7-38
Sep. 16 at CAK L 7-30
Sep. 23 South Doyle L 0-33
Sep. 30 at Rutledge R W 13-12
Oct. 7 Claiborne R L 0-20
Oct. 14 Carter R L 0-35
Oct. 21 at Pigeon Forge R L 7-44
Oct. 28 Seymour R L 10-35

2006 Schedule:

Aug. 26 Scott
Sep. 2 Union Co.
Sep. 9 @ Knoxville Halls
Sep. 16 CAK
Sep. 23 @ South Doyle
Sep. 30 Rutledge
Oct. 7 @ Claiborne
Oct. 14 @ Carter
Oct. 21 Pigeon Forge
Oct. 28 @ Seymour

The Gibbs Eagles haven't had much to crow about the last couple of seasons. In truth, you need to go back a few seasons to find the kind of end result the Eagles would like to produce (89, 91, 92 District Champs). They've only won six games in the last two seasons (3 of those were region doormats).

To compound the issue, the Eagles are looking two big obstacles in the face. The Eagles will be starting lots and lots of youth on both sides of the ball (4 juniors on offense, 2 sophomores on defense) and they'll be doing it in a region that could be much improved in 2006.

How does the schedule look this year:

The good news: Gibbs can probably win the same games as last season against their neighboring arch rivals Rutledge and Union. They also stand a chance of defeating Scott and erasing last years loss to them.

The bad news: Region foes Seymour, Pigeon Forge, Claiborne and Carter will be improved. In the case of Seymour and PF, they could be much improved.

Gibbs will need to win the games they won last year, win the games they played close as well and hope to pull off a shocker or two to have their first winning season since before 2000.

Key games:

Rutledge, Union and Scott. Lets keep it simple and focus on what can be done relatively easily. These three games give Gibbs hope and something to build on as the season progresses. CAK and Halls will not be as tough as last season after graduating several key players to their attacks. Those games might be ripe for the picking as well.

What will be the team strengths:

QB, LB's and line experience. QB Aaron Large didn't have a superb junior year (80 of 196, 869 yds, 3 TD's 14 INT's), but he is a solid cog to build on this season. His level of play should only improve with yet another years worth of experieince behind him. When and if Large faulters, look for junior Mark Lamb or Sophomore Joey Shipman to pick up the slack.

Coach Randy Carroll likes his two sophomore LB's Kyle Stuff and Chad Beeler. He likes them so much that they will start this year in the Eagle LB rotation. The two accounted for 9 tackles in 05, so they obviously made marked improvements in the off season.

The three QB rotation will really appreciate their offensive line experience (Cope and Collins are seniors, Shockley is a junior) and that as much as anything will make the Eagle attack more formidable. RB's Marcus Atkins and Brandon McMahan are also looking foward to running behind these veterans.

The Defensive line, anchored by DT Justin Jones and DE Drew Conrad, should get a better push up field than last season as well. The Eagles will have veteran experience in the backfield as well, where they'll start 3 upper classmen.

What will be the team weaknesses:

Youth. Sometimes starting lots of juniors and afew sophomores isnt as bad as it can look initially. It can't possibly help this Eagle team do much more than prepare for the future though. Luckily much of the youth is made up of more juniors than sophomores or freshmen. The best young talent on the team seems to be the sophomore class (QB Joey Shipman, WR Jacob Price, LB's Beeler and Stuff, DB Rusty Welch).

Best Offensive Player:

WR Chad Clark. Clark received limited snaps behind graduates Jacob Treadway and Cory Harless, but still acounted for 16 catches and 185 yards. He and first year starting RB Marcus Atkins will shoulder much of the load for the Eagle offense.

Best Defensive Player:

DB Brandon McMahan. McMahan accounted for 30 tackles (21 solo), 2 fumble recoveries, and 3 interceptions as a junior. At 5'9", 170 lbs and possessing 4.7 speed in the 40, Brandon should be able to run with most and tackle many.Being surrounded by two other seniors in the D backfield won't hurt his chances of making even more big plays in 06.

Key player to a successful season:

QB Aaron Large. Large flashed moments of true leadership and grit in 2005. He now needs to step up and make the transition to complete team leader. The days of 14 INT's vs. 3 TD passes needs to be waaay behind him.

The QB is often the most important position on the field. If Aaron improves, he will be the cornerstone the coaching staff will be happy to build around this season. If not and he produces more oskies, he might be watching one of the other QB's.

The season will be a success if ...

The Eagles can go 5-5 or 6-5 and get into the playoffs. That would signal that good things are ahead for this young team. Gibbs has a bright future ahead of it and needs to build for the future more than win every game. Playing the toughest in the region to 2 TD's or less would signal even more progress for this group of Eagles.

Tn Prep Sports prediction: 5-5

Eagles at the next level:

Donnie Collins University of Georgia
JD Overton Emory and Henry
Dane Daley Maryville
Joe Harrell UT-Chattanooga
Russell Brown University of Tennessee
Richard Widener Middle Tennessee State

Prep Tennessee Top Stories