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Wildcats offense ready to fly in 2013

Blake Colston

Piedmont quarterback Lucas Richert reeled off the names one by one, Darrius Burris, Blakely Liebman, Andra Richardson, Josh Hampton and Brandon Kirk.

“They can all be big for us,” Richert said of the offensive players that surround him this spring.
The junior-to-be thinks the unit he’s likely to lead will have play makers galore on it.

Although the start of fall camp is still months away, he could be right. The Wildcats brain trust, led by head coach Craig Church is going to give the players more opportunities to make plays, with an offense that allows skill players to play in space and make things happen.

“We’re just trying to attack the entire field,” the coach said.

And that starts with the signal callers. Richert is healthy again after suffering an ACL injury last summer that kept him out for the entire 2012 season.

He says he’s still gaining confidence in his surgically repaired knee, but Richert says he’s putting the injury behind him.

“You can’t think about it (on the field) or else you will get hurt again,” he said. “I just have to have faith that my legs are strong enough again and go back at it.”

Church says he’s been impressed with Richert’s recovery and has been pleased with Richert’s progression with the new scheme throughout the spring.

“There have been a lot of changes in terms of putting a lot more pressure on several positions and the key one is quarterback,” he said. “And Lucas has done a really good job of handling all that.”

Richert’s big frame and strong arm fit nicely into the new quick tempo offense, too.

“His arm strength is enabling us to attack parts of the field that will force defenses to be honest,” the coach said. “And those are parts of the field that are difficult to attack if you don’t have an intelligent quarterback with a strong arm. So he brings a lot to the table.”

What Richert can’t bring, Josh Hampton can. Hampton’s mobility allows him to attack defenses in a way his counterpart might not be able to.

An injury in the preseason derailed Hampton in 2012, but he’s healthy again and ready to be an integral part of the offense.

“(Hampton) brings a little bit different dimension when he’s in there as far as the zone read,” the coach said.

When Hampton isn’t taking snaps at quarterback he slides out to wide receiver.

Richert says he likes the added dimension Hampton brings to the field and names him among the play makers Piedmont will count on this fall.

“He’s a lot faster than I am and he’s great to have,” Richert said. “He has great hands at wide receiver, too.”

If team camp at Putnam City High School May 28-30 was any indication, the head coach likes where his offense is headed.

“Everyone has done a really good job with the adjustments we have made,” he said.


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