Don’t ever let it be said that Shenan Motley is scared to shake things up.
The first-year Wadley head coach has made some changes to his lineup and his coaching staff leading up to his preseason jamboree against Ranburne and RCHS Friday, and a knee-jerk reaction would be to say that he’s making change simply for the sake of change.
But a closer examination reveals real thought behind Motley’s moves, which he feels puts his new team in the best position to win games in 2019.
“Offensively we’ve got some guys in some different spots than we had them in the spring. So we’ve been working that,” Motley said.
The most noteworthy lineup shuffle comes at one of the most high-profile positions on the field. Jonathan Poole, who has been a backup quarterback for two seasons and started at that position in the spring game, has been moved back to receiver, where he was a starter last year.
Sophomore Jacob Marable has taken the reins under center and will be the starter when the whistle blows Friday night in Wedowee.
The change was made with the hope of optimizing the balance of the run-pass threat in the Wadley offense. Marable and starting running back Caden Messer were the two most impressive ball carriers in Wadley’s spring jamboree, so it makes sense to have them share the backfield on every snap.
“Just working it in practice Jacob Marable, if it’s there he’s going to turn it up,” Motley said. “And that’s not saying anything bad about either one of them, it’s just what I’m looking for, and Jacob brings that more to the table in my mind.”
That frees up Poole to create a legitimate receiving threat on the outside that opposing defenses cannot fall asleep on.
“We don’t have a guy of his range. He’s got great hands, and he’s real athletic,” Motley said. “We don’t have that guy out there right now that’s a big threat. But I think he could eventually be that threat. I just think that we’re better suited with him out there, that somebody has to honor, than throwing somebody out there that’s 5-foot-8 that’s not very athletic.”
That was the most significant on-field change, but it’s not the only place where Motley shuffled his cards a little bit.
Motley had not settled on the specific duties for his coaching staff coming out of the spring, but those roles have been finalized.
Motley will handle the defense after former defensive coordinator Logan Cofield left to become the principal at Wedowee Elementary School. And Motley is handing the offensive play-calling duties over to Terrell Zachery, who will be fulfilling that role for the first time in his career.
“He’s doing a good job with it,” Motley said. “I’ve just told him I’m going to just turn it over to you and let you run with it. We’ve sat down and talked about what we need to install and how we need to do it. He’s been going with it and doing a good job with it.”
Former head coach Jonathan Farr, who previously worked with Motley at Sweet Water, will coach the offensive and defensive lines, which Motley says is a testament to Farr’s versatility as a coach.
“He’s the kind of person that he can do anything for me because I’m doing a lot of stuff that I’ve been doing in the past when we were at Sweet Water,” Motley said. “I don’t have that guy right now to do O-line and D-line, so he’s fulfilling that role and doing a good job for me there.”
Jerrell Burns has taken on miscellaneous duties as needed, while Eddard Beverly will continue to coach the middle school team.
Motley has all his pieces in place, and in two days he’ll start to find out exactly how effective those changes are.