SES Analysis: The Vardaman Secondary
The Vardaman Ram secondary faces some important questions heading into spring practice, but has the potential to answer those questions quickly.
The Rams are losing all-purpose skill man Brandon Washington to graduation heading into 2017, but return some young talent that gained significant experience last season.
One such young talent comes in the form of Kody Townsend, who saw solid playing time at free safety as a freshman last season in Boo Griffin's defense.
Townsend accounted for two interceptions in 2016, including the one pictured above in the Rams' regular season finale against Hamilton. Townsend's brief stint at safety last year showed bright spots for his athletic future in Vardaman, and Ram fans have quickly become accustomed to his name.
One cornerback position for Vardaman will be anchored by the newly-crowned veteran Patrick Pratt. In his two varsity seasons, Pratt has accumulated 13 interceptions, ten of which came his freshman year. Much will be asked of Pratt (who doubles as the Rams' tailback) in 2017 on both offense and defense. One of his primary focuses will be leading this young, yet talented, Vardaman secondary.
The other cornerback position for the Rams appears to be up for grabs, at least for now.
Vardaman returns rising-senior Landon Patch and rising-sophomore Ty Edmondson to their ranks in 2017, both of whom saw playing time at corner last season. Edmondson made his presence felt in Vardaman's loss to West Lowndes a season ago as he secured an interception late in the first half, making some believe that his young career may soon blossom. Both Patch and Edmondson could see significant time in Griffin's defensive scheme this season, but who gets the start will depend on Griffin's preference between a young or veteran player taking the reigns.
Vardaman's secondary has thrived the past two seasons and has the potential to do so again in 2017. Young players will be required to make plays, but the Rams have become accustomed to that in past years and have learned to use it to their advantage. Head coach Larry Gann and defensive coordinator Boo Griffin have their work cut out for them, but they may have just the right formula to make it come together.