BUFORD — A certain ambiance rings through Tom Riden Stadium when Buford football hits the turf.

Helmets collide. Snap counts echo through the 120 yards of grass. The boisterous yells of coaching instruction reverberate around the grounds where program legacy has been built.

Buford football has a certain charm, and the return of it — even for two weeks of spring practice — feels right.

The program completed its fifth spring practice Wednesday before meeting an opponent Thursday night. Buford and Norcross will square off May 9 at 7:30 p.m. inside Tom Riden Stadium.

Buford head coach Bryant Appling spoke with The North Gwinnett Voice after the third day of practice on May 6 on his team’s progress.

This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

Q: What did you like from practice starting a new week?

A: It was pretty good. It helped that it wasn’t as hot. Mondays are always bad coming off of a long weekend. They might not feel like being here, but they sucked it up once they got out of their feelings and started practicing at a pace. I’m proud of them because we can go live (then into position groups) and different paces of practice. We’re practicing the right way. We have some things to clean up, but I’m overall proud of what they’ve done.

Q: Where have you seen the biggest improvements?

A: We’ve gotten to grow up some young linemen and young defensive backs. They’ve flashed enough over there with the big guys and on the back end. I know Thursday won’t be pretty and I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about them improving over a whole summer. I do want to see what they look like against somebody else. I’m definitely proud of where they are and surprised of how efficient they’ve been. I thought they’d make a whole bunch of mistakes, but we haven’t made a whole lot.

Q: You mentioned offensive linemen and defensive backs. Who has stood out at those positions?

A: Braden Burton has been playing left guard. Graham Houston is one who didn’t start last year. Those two have done a good job. (Ben) Mubenga has grown up a little bit, but still has a ways to go. At defensive back, (Jax) Pope has done a great job. (Ethan) Hauser has done a good job. Those are people  who have popped off of the screen a little bit. They’re not killing people yet as far as tackling, but they’re doing a good job of getting their eyes where they need to be.

Q: I understand the Norcross game won’t be the cleanest, but what are looking to see in the exhibition against a live opponent?

A: I want us to go out there and be efficient without any pre-snap or post-snap penalties. I want to be able to get lined up, snap it and run the ball downhill. If we can do those things, we have a whole summer to get better at moving people around and have a chance in the fall.

Q: There were coaches from Florida, Alabama, Maryland, UCF, Alabama and Clemson (offensive line coach Matt Luke) at practice Monday. What does that mean to the program?

A: It’s a blessing and a curse at this time of year. I try to get stuff done in my office, and there’s not much going on. If I didn’t have (recruiting director Fyrone) Davis as my recruiting coordinator, I don’t know what I would do. He’s handling 85-to-90 percent of it. I’m handling 10 percent of it, and I still can’t get anything done. It’s a blessing to have our kids get recruited and be on the radar early. The bottom line is if they don’t do it out here on the field and on Friday night, all of the offers can go up in smoke if you don’t perform.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by ExactMetrics