Longhorn preparations include changes to lineup

By Michelle Prater
STAR STAFF
mprater@starhq.com
Johnson County High's defense has had more than one surprise during this football preseason. The brotherly coaching team, head coach Mike Atwood and defensive coach Austin Atwood, have made several changes.
Daniel Cranford, the four-year starting senior, was previously considered for quarterback prior to the first two scrimmages, but now it looks as if he will be bouncing all over the defensive side. Jeffrey Brinker will be the starting quarterback in lieu of Cranford.
Working his way through the defensive side, Cranford started as a safety, moved to cornerback, and most recently has played outside linebacker.
"He'll be all over the field," Austin Atwood said. "He's really the key. We try to scheme everything around him."
At this point, Cranford is expected to be playing a lot as a strong safety.
As far as special teams go, Ian Proudam looks promising. After moving to South Carolina briefly, the senior recently returned to Johnson County.
"He'll be our kicker and our punter," said Austin Atwood. "He's looking pretty good in spring too."
The Longhorns are trying not to mix defense and offense. Though several players will be forced to play both sides of the ball, the Atwoods are trying to keep most of the players on one side.
"We're trying to keep them off both sides of the ball, but we've probably got five or six that's going to have to play both ways," said Atwood.
Tommy Gregg is one example of such a player. Austin Atwood said he played well over the summer, and will be a key player this season, swinging both the middle linebacker position for defense and center for the offensive side. The junior's starting position will be middle linebacker.
A fairly young team, the Longhorns only have five returning defensive players, and four on offense. Johnson County graduated about fourteen seniors that Austin Atwood said played quite a bit last year.
Another defensive player that the team has high hopes for is their strong safety, Ernie Hodge.
"He's a surprise," said Austin Atwood.
At 5-6 and only 149 pounds, the sophomore has proved that there is more than meets the eye.
"He's little, but he's a tough kid. He's looked good the last two scrimmages," said Austin Atwood.
The team's second scrimmage was yesterday against the Hampton Bulldogs.
The first game of the season for the Longhorns will be August 29, a home game against West Greene. The next two games will also be at home, against Sullivan Central and Hampton.