For most football teams — and especially for Clovis football teams — the bigger you are, the bigger your role on the field.
Whether it’s getting a first down or a score, or preventing one, a 10-yard first down or an 80-yard drive comes down to the four yards before and after the line of scrimmage, where the Wildcats hope a talented, cohesive unit will help shore up early depth issues.
“We’re sort of split on the line,” said line coach Chuck Jordan, a former Wildcats lineman. “We’ve got a good mixture of senior and junior linemen.”
However, it’s not much on size. Only one — 6-foot-5 senior tackle Kenny Betts — reaches the 300-pound mark, and that depends on what day he steps on the scale.
“We’re smaller, but we’ve got bigger hearts,” Betts said.
Betts battled through the preseason with back spasms, but expects to be at full strength when the Wildcats open their regular season next Friday at Alamogordo.
He, and the others, will have to be, with senior Michael Mileg missing time with a broken leg. The injury puts the unit at two seniors and three juniors, instead of three seniors and two juniors, Jordan said.
The shortened squad, senior center Seth Curry said, means the team will have to live by a motto of “small, smart and fast” to get the job done.
“Right now, the team is without Michael Mileg,” Curry said. “Overall (at full strength), we’re pretty good in what we’re doing.”
Jordan said other than Mileg and Betts, players he expects to see varsity time include seniors Chris Lewis, Curry, Brannon Credle; and juniors Chris Palenske, Sage Free, Hunter Hodges, Seth Tinkle and Jacob Esquibel.
The biggest concerns, Jordan said, are depth and adjusting to a new offensive system that should incorporate more short passes and runs from quarterback Tre Orozco — who coaches feel is just as much running back as quarterback.
The offense, retooled with the help of assistant Chad Roanhaus, isn’t something coaches feel will impact the scoreboard or stat sheet much, but changes will be noticeable to people who have watched the Wildcats for years.
“We’re changing some things up,” Jordan said. “Now we’re starting to work as a unit. You can’t be five guys; you’ve got to be a unit.”
Going into the season, Betts is confident.
“We’re pretty good,” he said. “Michael Mileg was a stud, but he’s going to be out for about six weeks. Tinkle, he’s a beast.
“Overall, we work as a team. We just have to keep the guys off Tre.”