Cy Ridge: Questions answered after off-season

The Cy Ridge football team is coming off one of their best seasons ever breaking plenty of school records and setting the tone for this season. Now it is time for reloading and rebuilding a new team and coach Gary Thiebaud is excited about his team's off-season performance. TexasPrepInsider talked with Thiebaud after the annual spring game for this spring report.

After finishing last season with an undefeated district championship, things seem to be on the up and up for the Cy Ridge football team. With spring football behind them, coach Gary Thiebaud looks back on how much his team has progressed through the off season.

"Coming out of our off season program, test wise, we strongest team we have ever had," Thiebaud, who's squad went 11-2 last season said. "We broke a lot of records in the weight room and we are the fastest team we have ever had here. Off season went real well for us, but when we got out here on the grass for spring ball, and there were a few concerns."

And those concerns meant there were positions that have not been solidified. The Rams graduated a large number of players, but this year did not return a lot. So for Cy Ridge is wasn't an issue of talent, but depth.

But Thiebaud found plenty of answers once they strapped the helmets on and got to work on the gridiron. 

"We have some rally solid returning players. And we have some holes," Thiebaud said. "This is a small senior class and is the smallest one we have had since we opened. Where we have had depth before with seniors, now we are looking at younger kids to see if they can handle that. That is an evaluating we are still going through."

One youngster in particular who shined this off-season and capped it off with a stellar performance in the spring game was Kevin Johnson. Though he was a starter last season at receiver, the Cy Ridge coaches tried him in several different positions. He played some quarterback and defensive back.

During the spring game, Johnson accounted for three touchdowns on the day. And as far as Thiebaud was concerned, the spring game ended on a high note. But this upcoming season, there may be few things that the Rams will be doing differently from years past.

"I thought it (spring game) went okay. We're looking at a lot of guys and looking at situations when we came in," Thiebaud said. "Our deal is we are going to throw the ball a lot this spring and we'll be 2-to-1 with the pass to run. We have done that all spring.

"We got some turnovers on defense and that is great, but from the offensive side we don't want to get those we want to keep the ball. Again, our efforts always seem to be good with these kids and I thought their effort was good today."

Now with the spring behind them, the Rams look to the upcoming 2008 season. And as a coach when you are putting together a new team, looking forward is all you do. 

"We had a nice year last year and that's the good thing it was last year. We have moved on from that and this is a whole new football team," Thiebaud said. "We put last year away and we did that in January and now we focus on a new year. We got some guys coming back, but we also have some guys coming up who haven't played before. Every year is different even when you have key guys coming back."

The Rams may have a lot of holes to fill in some positions, but others are fairly set. They are working with solid players returning.

For starters, quarterback Russell Shepard returns after a break out junior season along with running back Hasan Lipscomb. On the line, Keenan Flax will be the likely leader to provide the protection. 

Defenders Princeton Jackson, John Gandy, and Robert Scarpati lead a defense that gave up an average of less than 20 points a game.

There will be some new faces, but there are some things that don't change.

"Our goals haven't changed since our first year and that was to be a playoff team and we did that and actually won the district championship last year as well," Thiebaud said. "Since then our goals haven't changed, but we know we want to practice on Thanksgiving day, play for the regional championship, and get to San Antonio."

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