PINEVILLE – Almost everything is new at Pineville this season.
New season. New defensive coordinator. New fieldhouse. Same emphasis on physicality.
The Rebels are fresh off of their first playoff appearance in seven seasons, while looking to build on that in the trenches behind their defense and their running game.
“I feel like the pieces are in place to be a solid defense,” Pineville coach Robbie Martin said.
While Martin doubled as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator last season, help is on the way as John Muder returns to his alma mater after spending the previous five seasons with Breaux Bridge.
Muder will have a good defense to work with as Jarious Green returns to lead the unit after recording 30 tackles and intercepting a pass last season.
Muder, who saw 12 of his players obtain scholarships at Division I schools at Breaux Bridge, hopes he can work the same magic at Pineville.
“Every kid we sent was a great character kid,” Muder said. “I hope the kids here understand that. It’s not about being a great player or a great athlete, you have to be a great person as well or the coaches don’t want you.”
The Rebels had a Division I signee last season in Cody Ford and will have to replace him and three other departures on the offensive line to clear the way for Green and fellow running back Landon King.
“That’s going to be a big determining factor on how good we can be and how good those young guys can develop,” Martin said. “We have good skill on offense. If our offensive line can develop and come around to where they need to be, I feel like we have a chance to be pretty good.”
Last season, Green and King highlighted a Rebels’ rushing attack that amassed over 2,200 yards on the ground and Martin expects the same to happen this season with both power backs weighing north of 200 pounds.
Pineville will also have a pair of quarterbacks in seniors Clayton Wider Jr. and Kyle Adams — both of whom can double as receivers.
“Both of those guys can play,” Martin said. “If we’re more veer-oriented, Clayton will get the majority of the snaps. When we’re pass-oriented, Kyle will get the majority of snaps. We could have both of those guys in the game and just switch them up at receiver and quarterback with no problem.”
The Rebels kick off the season Sept. 4, when they host Captain Shreve at D.C. “Bill” Bates Stadium. That will be followed up with back-to-back road trips to Tioga and Marksville, before hosting Leesville and St. Louis to wrap up their non-district schedule before 2-5A play begins.