MELBOURNE – Things have been business as usual at Melbourne High football practice this month, just as they’ve been for seven years now under head coach Todd Wilson.
The stability Wilson and his staff have provided to one of Brevard County’s largest programs also has made it one of its most consistent. Regardless of graduation losses, district realignment or fluctuations in talent, the Bulldogs have reached a level at which they roll on and contend for the playoffs every season.
Nevertheless — or perhaps because of this — Wilson has concerns as Friday’s preseason game at Titusville approaches.
“I’m worried in that we’re just young in key spots,” he said last week. “We’ve got to avoid injuries and have some young guys step up. We’re inexperienced in both backfields, offensively and defensively, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be good there; it just means we’re inexperienced.”
Wilson is optimistic about his offensive line. That group has typically been strong under the current staff, and it is anchored by fourth-year starter Sage Kempfer at center.
The Bulldogs have been a run-and-play-defense team, but there will be a bit of a different look at quarterback this season.
Some recent Melbourne quarterbacks have been able to move the ball with their own feet, but perhaps none of them have had quite the speed of Cooper Christiano.
Defensively, Wilson and his coaches were high on a junior defensive lineman last week, Tanner Rowell.
“I told him this is probably as good a week of practice as I’ve been around in coaching,” Wilson said. “He’s just been a beast.”
All those areas will get their next test Friday. Wilson said his team did not play well in a 21-7 spring game loss at DeLand, though he appreciated the challenge.
It’s the same thing he’ll expect this week.
“It’s one thing when you’re blocking the same front. What happens when you’re blocking somebody different?” he said.
“Overall, we want to see how we’re going to do as a team at all those things you have to do to win.”
It took his Bulldogs a while to do those things last September.
After a win against Satellite, there were losses to Palm Bay and Merritt Island.
“Even though we started 1-2, we finished 8-2. I just think those games prepared us,” Wilson said. “We’ll get thrown into the fire again. There’s no time to be young.”
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or email@example.com. Follow high school sports on Twitter @321preps.
Meet the Players
Jordan Watson, Sr., 5-10, 170, DB
Summer movie he liked: “Let’s Be Cops”
Go-to fast food item: Steak ‘n Shake burger
Teammate he’d most like to trade places with: Tanner Rowell. Defensive line looks fun.
Favorite pro sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Best memory of 2013: Charlotte game interception
FLORIDA TODAY takes a look at each football team around the county, profiling a different one each day. Tuesday: Cocoa Beach.
2014 Bulldogs Schedule
Aug. 29 Satellite 7
Sept. 5 at Merritt Island 7
Sept. 12 at Palm Bay 7
Sept. 19 Eau Gallie 7
Sept. 26 Centennial 7
Oct. 10 Bayside 7
Oct. 17 Viera 7
Oct. 24 at Martin County 7
Oct. 31 at Sebastian River 7
Nov. 7 at Astronaut 7