The Eupora offense receive a boost this spring with the return of Vandy Smith to the backfield. (Photo by Lee Adams, For Starkville Daily News)
Some high school football coaches are satisfied when they can get through a spring practice with no players getting hurt.
It can be considered a bonus when key people return from injuries.
That's what happened for the Eupora Eagles this spring.
Eupora football coach Junior Graham was encouraged to see Vandy Smith come back from a severe knee injury last season and Jamal Roby return from a broken ankle.
Smith, who tore all three knee ligaments, was used as a wildcat quarterback and running back during the spring jamboree.
"We're excited about where he is and what he brings to the table," Graham said. "It's good to have him back.
"We moved Jamal Roby. After he broke his ankle in the Calhoun City game, we moved him to receiver and will do some good things for us offensively. He's got good hands and he's a big, strong kid."
Graham said Lazerick Davis had a real good spring at fullback.
One of the areas Graham wanted to focus on during spring practice was the passing game and getting the football down the field more efficiently with quarterback Trey Pittman.
"Our quarterback's arm is a little bit stronger than it was last year and he's more mature," Graham said. "Our vertical passing game was better in the spring game and we protected the ball well. Those are two things that really hurt us last year. Our protection was adequate up front, but we've got to sure some things up protection-wise."
Defensively, Graham said the Eagles changed the scheme from a split formation to a 4-3 and he was pleased with the progress on that side of the football.
Eupora hosted the jamboree with Bruce, Water Valley, Senatobia and East Webster participating.
The Eagles scrimmaged against Water Valley and East Webster, two teams different from each other that gave Graham a different look.
"It was quality competition," Graham said of the jamboree. "We're really pleased with the areas that we really focused on in the spring and saw signs of improvement. A lot of kids played so those are all pluses going into the fall."
Eupora is scheduled to open the season on Aug. 31 at Winona.
(Editor's Note: This story is the second in a series recapping spring practice for various high schools in the area. Other teams will be hightlighted in the next week.)
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