HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Leander implements new defensive mindset with new coordinator

The Lions gave up 43 points a game during district play last season, a stat James Ramsey is hoping to change

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Leander defensive coordinator James Ramsey is always intense, whether he’s on a football field or eating a bowl a cereal. 

The coach, in his first year in charge of the Lions defense, is installing a fairly new system to help improve a team that gave up 43 points a game during district play last season, the second-worst in the league. 

“In the sense of how fierce he is, it’s changed a lot,” Leander head coach Tim Smith said. “The kids are more focused and intense and it’s a lot of fun to watch those kids practice. The structure of our defense is the same, but it’s more technique based.”

The Lions are also changing their offense, which will in turn help with the defense. 

They spent last year going as fast as possible on offense, forcing the defense to be on the field for more plays that they should have been. A slower offense should give the defense more time on the sidelines to rest up. 

“They also work hard on creating turnovers,” Smith said. “If they can get the ball to or offense once or twice a game, we can eat the clock more and run about 12 plays. That’s hopefully really hard on another team.”

Junior Evan Smith returns to head up the linebackers, while senior Michael Potter lines up at nose guard. 

Potter said the team wasn't thrown off by the switch in defenses this fall, but it took most of the spring to get used to the new positioning and schemes

“Coach Ramsey is a really up-tempo guy and he wants everything to fast and physical and the energy is through the roof,” Potter said. “I’m excited to work with the guys we have here. We have a small group numbers-wise, but the guys we have here are excited and working hard.”

Finishing 1-5 in district play was not exactly what the Lions were hoping for last season, and moving to a nine-team district fill with high-powered offenses to slow down won’t make things any easier. 

But Smith is still excited about how his team has been progressing this fall. 

“I’ve been here for six years, and the one thing about Leander kids is they’re going to fight and be physical,” he said. “They understand what it takes to win games and I’m excited to coach them.”

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