Ardmore coach Douglas Wendel closed out his spring practice excited about the improvements made by the Tigers.
But even he knows there's still work to be done. After two weeks of practices wrapped up on Thursday, Wendel highlighted the defense while acknowledging that the offensive line was a work in progress.
"The defense was a strong point, which I knew it would be," Wendel said. "I felt like the intensity, the sense of urgency, the practicing with a purpose, all of that was vastly improved from the fall. It wasn't bad in the fall, it just wasn't like you want it to be."
All-Ardmoreite Super Team safety/wide receiver Carter Swanson had what Wendel called a "phenomenal" spring, in on several turnovers in a two-week stretch that emphasized defense from the 6-foot 3, 195 pounder. Wendel also called rising junior linebacker Jarred Hall "close to dominant."
Hall, an All-Ardmoreite Super Team linebacker as a sophomore, was named team captain in the second week of practice.
"I felt like Jarred Hall was going to have the potential to be a natural leader," Wendel said. "He certainly has the respect of his teammates."
On offense, sophomore receivers Buddy Johnson and Adonis McGee were a bright spot for Wendel, especially in the second week. Whereas the Ardmore offense used Hall in many offensive sets as a fullback last season, Wendel is excited about the depth the Tigers have at arguably the most critical position in their offense.
Rising senior Kain McCullough and rising sophomore Kydric Knox were able to shoulder reps at fullback in the fall. That's carried over to spring ball.
"Kydric Knox has a chance to be special, and Kain is good with the ball in his hands," Wendel said. "Kydric is practicing offense the majority of the time and Kain is practicing defense."
Wendel said Hall has also practiced at quarterback, but that the Tigers plan on deploying him as a linebacker first and foremost.
"I think he could be great at it (quarterback), but at the same time, I think he's an All-State caliber linebacker," Wendel said. "We like the direction that Clay (Atwood) is going. (Clay) got better each day in spring.
"You've got to have a No. 2 ready in this offense, and I feel confident Jarred could go in an execute. But our commitment is him at linebacker."
Ardmore will participate in 7-on-7 competition with Plainview in June, Summer Pride on June 10 and team camp after July 4 at Ardmore.