Grace set to headline spring game

5/2/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

It won't exactly be a game by definition, but Garden City Community College head football coach Matt Miller is looking forward to the spring game nonetheless.

Due to some minor injuries, and other family commitments, the Broncbusters will be left with just five offensive lineman for the 1 p.m. spring showcase at the newly built Multi-Sport Facility. With that in mind, the Busters will not be playing a standard 11-on-11 game. Instead, they will begin with a passing 7-on-7 contest, followed by some featured 1-on-1 linemen drills and running backs on linebackers pass-rushing drills.

"I think it will be a lot of fun, interesting for our fans to come out, especially with our new stadium," the second-year coach said about the stadium that will host a football event for the first time. "It's going to be an exciting day."

The Busters will end the day with a full offense and defense red zone period where the offense will begin at the defense's 25-yard line.

"Hopefully, we can put touchdowns up there moving the football. But if we don't, our defense is very good. I'm an offensive coach, so we're going to start going in. I'm going to cheat a little bit," Miller said with a laugh.

However, the abnormal format will give fans their best look at new starting quarterback Makail Grace, who Miller said is the top guy coming out of spring.

Grace is moving over from free safety, where he started and excelled during the 2013 season.

The Rochelle, Ga., native is also the cousin of former Busters' quarterback and current Auburn University signal caller Nick Marshall.

Grace will rotate at quarterback with redshirt freshman Patrick Hoard and former Holcomb standout Tyler LeSalle, who Miller said attended Kansas State in the fall but missed playing football, so he transferred to GCCC.

However, Grace has seen the most focus in the spring. Miller noted he has spent about 30 minutes every day with Grace in one-on-one drills to try to bring Grace back up to speed after not playing quarterback for a season.

When jokingly asked if Miller had to arm wrestle defensive coordinator Jeff Kelly to get Grace to leave that side of the ball, Miller quipped that Kelly now has Meade native Trevin Wiens on that side of the ball full time.

Wiens split time at several different positions in 2013 due to his athleticism, but Miller said the sophomore is now slotted at Grace's vacant free safety spot.

"I'm pretty excited about that young man," Miller said.

While it's not the traditional game, Miller still would like his kids to play with that type of focus as if it was a game.

"I want them to have fun, No. 1," he said. They deserve it. They've done some great things, and not just spring football, but the entire offseason has been tremendous.

"I want them to enjoy their moment, so to speak, but obviously you want to see how guys react in certain situations."

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