The spread offense has gained such popularity among coaches that even some of the most ardent believers in smash-mouth football have converted.
Conway coach Chuck Jordan has been a spread disciple the last few seasons, but the move was necessitated more by his team's inability to run effectively than a desire to throw. With an experienced offensive line and quality ball carriers, look for the Tigers to return to their running roots in 2008.
``I think the positions we have the most experience at are linebacker and offensive line,'' Jordan said. ``Those are two very important areas for us. When you are talking about offensive linemen, only experience will cultivate those types of players.''
The Tigers have yet to settle on a tailback. Jordan knows Seth Moreland can handle the gig _ he averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season _ but he would prefer an underclassman wins the bulk of the carries so that Moreland can focus more eon playing defense.
No matter who starts at tailback, quarterback Ryne Hardwick will not be counted on to throw as much as Dakota Derrick did last season. Still, Hardwick has matured this summer and has two experienced receiving targets.
The Tigers will need to be ready coming out of camp. They play non-region games against Summerville, Marlboro County and Myrtle Beach.
``Those are games that have been testy and emotional for us,'' Jordan said. ``We'll have to play well early. I like playing good people. It shows you your weaknesses.''
After losing the majority of their starters from the 2006 team, last season's Tigers were basically in a rebuilding year _ at least by their standards, going 9-3. Now the program has once again set its sights on its ultimate goal: a state championship.
``The 2006 team had a bunch of good players,'' said senior offensive lineman Tim Fowler of the squad that lost to Greenwood in the Class AAAA, Division II state championship game. ``We won't be as big or strong as that team, but I think we'll turn heads when we start playing.''