Indians bolster lines in offseason

Walter Pinion

McEachern is gearing up for football season and while the skill players were working on 7-on-7 drills in tournaments, the offensive and defensive line have also been working on their craft this offseaon. Coming off a successful 8-3 season, coach Kyle Hockman and the Indians are looking to continue their success and it starts with a powerful and physical line.


The offensive line is anchored by rising juniors Chuma Edoga and  junior Chandler Jones. Edoga has received interest from a plethora of colleges including Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and, most recently, the University of Georgia. As the only returning starter on an offensive line that prides itself in physicality, Edoga has spent this summer establishing his position as a leader on the team. Jones has also stepped up for the team and moving from nose tackle last year to offensive line this offseason has been a very smooth process.


The biggest concern to have with this returning roster would be the lack of experience on the offensive line, but Hockman is confident in his players. “There’s not a huge amount of experience,” Hockman acknowledged. “But physically, we’re close to what we were last year.”


There is an expected drop-off with All-State OT JaJuan Delaney, who graduated and will suit up for the University of Maryland this season. Hockman is still confident in his line because of the likes of Edoga, Jones and Uche Nkadi who played a lot of tight end, and is transitioning to offensive line to help this team’s speed up front.


The Indians are focusing on keeping their offensive line technically sound, because of the importance of an uptempo pace to their prolific running attack. The line will pave the way for 5-star junior RB Taj Griffin and the speedy QB Ty Clemons, who has offers from Kentucky, Buffalo and GSU so far. While the skill players have been using 7-on-7 drills to improve the lineman have been focused on technique and getting conditioned for the season.


“We haven’t been hitting as much this offseason and have been more focused on base schemes, footwork, and getting in the weight room,” Hockman explained.


Hockman has also been trying to give the lines experience seeing different schemes from the offensive and defensive side of the ball in order to prepare them for the complex looks that they will be seeing this year. The Indians start their season against Brookwood in the Georgia Dome. Hockman says they have been using some loud speakers on the field to acclimate the players to the loud noise levels that will come with playing in the Dome. However, the Indians primarily use a lot of signals from the sideline in order to help communicate with the players on the field so noise should not impact that bridge.


The McEachern football season is tough out the gates. They start off with a game against Brookwood in the Georgia Dome, and then six days later, play Lassiter at home. The last time McEachern played Brookwood, the Indians lost 20-10 in the first round of the 2009 State Playoffs. In the previous clash with Lassiter, McEachern lost a heartbreaking 20-17 game in the second round of the 2011 State Playoffs.


Hockman and his team hope to have a different start from last year where they dropped the first two games to Grayson and Walton before winning eight games in a row en route to a fourth consecutive playoff berth. The offensive line’s preparation this offseason and the unit’s leadership and maturity will be a deciding factor in a fifth-consecutive playoff berth come November.



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