PLANT CITY—Durant center Alex Wood gained a new perspective last weekend.
A strained MCL kept him in jeans on the sideline during the Cougars’ 36-24 win over Brandon. From that vantage point, he noticed subtleties that players normally miss but coaches see all too well.
“Mistakes,” he said. “It’s easier to see the mistakes.”
Overall, though, he thought the line played well without him. And he saw that running back Jamarlon Hamilton did a nice job capitalizing on the blocks the line created for him.
“I can rely on him,” Wood said of Hamilton, who racked up 146 second-half yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns. “He runs well and is hard to take down.”
Durant head coach Mike Gottman said Hamilton was a little banged up after his heavy workload Friday but has gone through a normal practice week. Look for Durant to maximize his carries this Friday against Wharton, a team that has its own go-to running back in Darius Page.
For the Durant defense, it’s the second week in a row that one particular offensive opponent has drawn most of their attention. Last week, the Cougars limited Brandon’s Tyrell Garner to 105 yards, 45 percent fewer than his season average. Page, though, will operate out of the Wildcats’ spread formation (in contrast to Brandon’s tight end-heavy wing formations) and poses a threat in the passing game as well. Through four games, he has 11 catches for 200 yards.
Wood, though, isn’t sweating the details. Equipped with a new knee brace, he's back on the field and ready to play Friday. When asked what his goals were for this out-of-district tune-up before Plant City, he named just one.
“To win,” he said. “I just want to win.”