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Depth a must when injuries, suspensions force position changes

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 3:45 am

Jordan Rezac usually gets in and out of cuts without much trouble.

Not this time.

The Desert Vista senior lost a good portion of his senior year because of a torn labrum in his hip sustained in 7-on-7 drills. It led to surgery last week and about three months of recovery.

It also created a void.

One, if not two, positions thought to be filled heading into Week 1 of the season were suddenly open. Rezac, who had some wear and tear because of his time as thrower in track, was expected to be the starting tight end and was going to battle for time at linebacker.

“We are going to miss him at tight end,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said. “We had to move some people around, which created a new hole. It’s just a domino effect. It can create a depth problem.”

Mountain Pointe had to do some moving around prior to camp as well when a returning starter was booted from the team by coach Norris Vaughan.

To cover the hole created senior Trey Lauer was moved from Will linebacker to strong safety, but as the Pride approaches Friday’s game against Bishop Gorman is back to seeing most of his action at linebacker.

“We don’t have as much depth at linebacker,” Vaughan said. “They’re similar positions and he’s going to be playing both depending on the package. He’s really aggressive and I like him at linebacker, but we might play a team where he is a better fit at strong safety.”

The point is when a position becomes vacated someone has to step up.

For Desert Vista it is going to be Anthony Reaves and Will Barfield getting a chance while Rezac changed his Twitter handle to Coach Rezac Jr., knowing he is going to be on the sidelines for several months.

Reaves, who was originally a tight end, was going to start as the X wide receiver, but was moved to tight end. After Reaves was moved senior Will Barfield moved into a starting role at the X.

“We worked it out,” Hinds said. “The lineup is going to be just as strong. Will Barfield has really come on. He was elected team captain. There is some drop off. But we will be OK.”

It just goes to show why depth is so important.

Reaves and Barfield could very well go on to have terrific seasons, but losing Rezac forced the coaching staff to go into Plan B.

“It happens throughout the season, but with this one at least we had a chance to make the adjustments,” Hinds said before camp started. “During the season it is a quick turnaround.”

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Reaves, who goes by Tomcat, a nickname given to him by his grandfather, is ready to take on the new challenge.

“The coaches see the opportunity for me at tight end,” he said. “I am excited about it. It was my main position at first and I am pretty comfortable with it.”

Vaughan and the Pride are in the season as they head to Las Vegas this week to open the year in the Sollenberger Classic.

The veteran coach has been through too much to know the starting 22 he puts out there against Bishop Gorman on Friday could look entirely different against North the following week or a month later when the Pride and Thunder collided in the Ahwatukee Bowl on Oct. 4.

“It’s early in the year,” Vaughan said. “I’m the type of coach that does a lot of stuff on purpose to see how the players react. We are not going to have a lot of our puzzle solved in the first game.”

And once they think they do have it settled something seemingly always pops up to jumble it all over again.

A car accident involving two Pride football players, including a starter, late last week left their availability for the opener in doubt.

“If it isn’t one thing it is another,” Vaughan said. “We can only play with the players we have. That’s what we are going to do.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
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  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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