MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Although fans and players are happy to have high school football back this month, inclement weather during the first two weeks of practice have stressed out coaches in the Panhandle.
Persistent storms and poor field conditions have limited Marianna to only three practices with extensive work in the passing game. It's just one more obstacle the Bulldogs will have to overcome when they take the field for Friday's preseason classic at Arnold.
They're also dealing with an abundance of youth.
Quarterback Marquis Kelly and running back Werlean Pollack are two of 17 graduates who move on from the 2017 team which went 5-5. Most defensive backs on this year's roster also started last year, but the Bulldogs are filling most starting spots with inexperienced players.
It's still too early to tell who will start at quarterback. Caleb Torbett, Brady Donaldosn, Tanner Spooner, and Ahmad Johnson are all taking reps.Luckily for head coach John Donaldson, having too many quarterbacks is a better problem than having too few.
"We're still in a rotation just trying to find some guys. Today we had a guy that had a really good day. Tomorrow he might not," Donaldson said after practice last week. "We're waiting on some people to stick their head out of the sand, but I'm comfortable having to play more than one kid. It's a long season, we all know. It's nice at a school this size to actually have some competition."
At all positions, the next month will be a quest to discover and develop reliable, big play guys.
"Last year, we had the ability to score from 80. I don't know if we have that anymore," Donaldson added. "We have some kids that we're really excited about that may have the potential to do it but just haven't done it yet. We'll see. We'll find what we can do and find those play-makers. It may take us to figure out who they are and how to get them the ball."
Following Marianna's preseason game at Arnold on Friday, the Bulldogs open the regular season on the road at Chipley.