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Q/A with head football coach Marc Bindel
August 27, 2021
After losing several key players last year, the Rider Raiders take to the field Friday night against Dumas with several new faces. Led by junior quarterback Jack Pitts, the 2021 season is sure to be an interesting one.
The Rider Chronicle sat down with head football coach Marc Bindel to discuss the team, upcoming players and the pressures of filling Jacob Rodriguez’s place.
Q: The team lost a lot of really great players last year, how are we going to compensate?
A: I think it’s just time to bring in new great players and just give them the opportunity to show us what they can do. We feel like we have younger players waiting in the wings. We’ll just continue to coach those guys up and encourage them. We’ll have some growing pains, but as they continue to get better and better, we think we can get right back to where we were.
Q: Are there any new players we should be keeping an eye on?
A: Well, Jack Pitts is going to play quarterback. He did play a couple games as quarterback last year, but mostly he played as a safety. Anquan Willis has been on varsity since he was a freshman. He’s really going to be our feature running back. We’re just really excited about our offense as a whole. There’s new guys getting opportunities to play. And on defense we’ve returned Coleman Bledsoe and Logan Rex, those guys were starters linebackers last year along with Luke Gambs. We’re excited to see how they all come back and become leaders.
Q: He’s got some big shoes to fill. How’s quarterback Jack Pitts doing?
A: I think he’s going to do great. He was a competitor for us, he started as a safety sophomore year. So, he played in basically every game last year. We think good things about Jack, but of course it’s not just about him. The quarterback is the sum of the parts around him, so we really need everyone else to step up for us to be successful in all three phases of the game. We’ve changed the offense up a little bit just to suit him better so I think he’s really, really comfortable and ready to go.
Q: How do you think the Decatur scrimmage went?
A: It went really well. We came out healthy, which is always our number one focus. It really wasn’t about scoring, but more so tackling and blocking well. Playing with good energy, and the guys did that. So I think they’re ready to play.
Q: What were the highlights of the game? What do you think the team needs to work on?
A: A lot to work on. I mean, I’m a coach so I’ll always see things to work on. But the kids were playing with energy and there was a lot of support coming from the sidelines. Especially on defense, we were really running to the ball. So those were some of the biggest highlights. I also thought we threw the ball really well. Stuff to work on, we got some penalties. We just need to be able to run the ball better.
Q: How have football’s COVID procedures changed, if at all?
A: I mean, a little bit. But, of course they’re always changing. Tomorrow, it could be different than it was yesterday. We’ll just continue to evaluate that and keep everything clean and fresh, keeping everybody protected. And we’ll go from there.
Q: What are this year’s expectations for the season?
A: We really need to just be able to stay together in times of adversity and really play for each other. I believe that if we do those things, I think the sky’s the limit for this group. They’re all really good kids.