Freshmen may help Hounds

Dave Wagner

BLACKWATER DRAW — Eastern New Mexico University freshman wide receiver Greg Scott was used to running a no-huddle offense in high school at San Antonio Stevens. After about a week, he’s trying to adapt to the Greyhounds’ high-octane attack.

“It’s a lot faster,” Scott said after the Hounds went through a two-hour scrimmage Friday morning at Greyhound Stadium. “Everybody’s bigger and stronger.

“I was ‘the man’ in high school. Today, I think I caught three balls.”

Scott is among roughly 10 freshmen on the Hounds’ current two-deep roster. Coach Mark Ribaudo said that right now most are on the second team, but are only a heartbeat away from moving into starting positions.

Other frosh who Ribaudo thinks may play significant roles during the course of the season include defensive end Joseph Henry of Brownwood, Texas; safety Jason Serda of Albuquerque; inside linebacker Keighen Thetford of Arlington, Texas, and kicker-punter Michael Cottingham of Hutto, Texas.

“I think Joe Henry is outstanding,” Ribaudo said. “He might be one of the best freshmen I’ve seen since I’ve been here. And I think Greg Scott will be a good player.”

Scott is trying to break into a relatively crowded group at receiver. He said he’s making progress.

“I think I’m doing well out there,” he said. “Today, I messed up about three times. I still have to learn some of the plays.”

The pace of ENMU’s practices is designed to help players get into shape, notably on the defensive side of the ball against what Ribaudo refers to as the “NASCAR” attack.

“The offense is pretty tough,” Henry acknowledged. “You have to be in good shape if you’re on defense.”

Like Scott, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Henry is looking to break into a starting spot at some point, although as it stands he should see significant playing time.

“It’s definitely a big jump,” said Henry, who played at Class 3A Brownwood, Texas. “It’s so much faster than high school. The first day (of practice) my head was spinning, but I’m getting used to it.”

ENMU gave up more than 37 points and 470 yards per game last season. Part of that can be attributed to the fact the defense often had little time to rest — the offense often either scored quickly, or gave up the ball quickly.

“We’re definitely trying to get better,” Henry said. “We have some guys hurt right now, but we’re anxious to get them back.”

Starters Rodney Mitchell at cornerback, Nathan Uland at linebacker and Matt Kalisch at defensive end were held out of Friday’s scrimmage due to injury, but Ribaudo said he expects all of them to be ready well before the Aug. 28 opener at home against Southern Nazarene.