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Countryside lays it on the line to start season

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Mon. August 8, 2011 | Bob Putnam | Email

Countryside went 19-1 in the regular season and advanced to the region final the past two years thanks to its big men up front.

The offensive line was a cohesive unit, anchored by five-star recruit Tyler Moore.

Now, Moore and the rest are gone.

The Cougars started the first day of practice with an entirely new offensive line. It is up to them to protect quarterback Gray Crow and push the pile for running back Diomi Roberts. They have to move in unison, find the right spots.

"It's a group that has to come together pretty quick," Countryside coach Jared Davis said.

Jeff Albert, a senior, has the most playing time of the group. He has the unenviable task of replacing Moore at left tackle.

"I don't really see it as pressure," Albert said. "I see it as an honor. Tyler was a great player and people will be looking at me to see well I perform. I just have to work hard."

Brandon Pertile, Austin Podurgiel, Joe Dutra, Austin McConnell and Jake Smith, among others, are vying for playing time on the line.

The unit developed some chemistry in the spring and gave Crow enough time to throw for four touchdowns against St. Petersburg.  

"They've made a lot of strides," Cougars offensive line coach Ray Schroeder said. "We had to shuffle the deck a few times, but we think we've got everyone in the right spot. They're good and they know there is a tradition to uphold here on the line."

While the skill players spent the summer in 7-on-7 tournaments, the line grunted through workouts that used a lot of circuit training to help build explosiveness and stamina to last for four quarters.

"A lot of the training is what NFL players are doing now," Albert said. "We did a lot with resistance training and worked on agility. It's something I think will help as we start the season."

Players in post

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