Brahman defense might be strength of team

OKEECHOBEE — The Brahmans switched to a 3-4 defense this spring which puts more emphasis on speed and athleticism.

Defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Tyrone Smith said the team doesn’t have the size it has had in the past and needed to rely on their secondary and quicker players.

“We have a few people out with bumps and bruises but I think the spring has been productive for our defense. Some of our JV players have stepped in and done better than anticipated,” said Smith.

The defensive alignment emphasizes getting to the football. The players are expected to pursue the ball and gang tackle when possible.

Finding a nose tackle will also be a big job. Candidates include Jorge Arias and Royce Arnold.

“It’s very important to find a nose guard because they have to handle two gaps,” Smith added.

The secondary is the most experienced unit with players like Kysell Richardson, Jermaine Moore, Jajuan Cherry, and Malcolm Chambers returning. Cherry is expected to be used all over the field at cornerback, inside linebacker and outside linebacker.

“We want to showcase him and match him up with slot receivers and the other team’s most talented players. We can’t hide him and teams know where he’s at,” he said.

Smith said linebacker Bracen Harvey will be the anchor of the defense with his intensity, smarts and tackling ability.

A surprise this spring is JV call up Lyndsey Major who has played well at linebacker.

Smith said he has practiced very well and opened up the eyes of coaches with his performance.

Major said he hopes to be a starter at linebacker. He has played football since he was six years old.

“I’m getting better, getting in shape, and learning more about my position.

They wanted me on varsity last year and I’m very excited to compete,” he added.

Major said he doesn’t mind a little competition and said he will do whatever the coaches ask him to do.

“Whatever the coaches ask me to bring to the field I will bring to the field. I thank the coaches for the chance,” Major said.

Major said he is really excited to learn from other teams when the Brahmans play in Friday’s jamboree game at Sebastian River.

Smith said the game will show the kids where they are at and where they need to improve.

“This year we may have more guys play both sides of the ball. I look forward to the summer workouts and getting kids into the weight room. Whatever they put into the weight room they will get something out of,” he said.

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Smith talks to some of his defensive backs, Veyon Washington and Elton Pelt at Brahman spring practice this week.

Richardson excited for chance at quarterback

OKEECHOBEE — One of the most watched Brahmans who plays in tonight’s jamboree will be starting quarterback Kysell Richardson.

The lefty thrower has looked sharp with the accuracy of his throws at spring practice this year. He’s excited to get the opportunity to show what he can do.

“Oh yes I’m pleased with how I’ve performed and I’m happy to be at quarterback and provide for my teammates. I will not be selfish and I stepped up to play quarterback because nobody else wanted to. Now I will do what I have to do,” he said.

Coach Chris Branham has been very pleased with the performance of Richardson at spring practice. He noted it has not been a surprise that Richardson has done well.

“He’s worked hard at throwing the football. There was never a question about Kysell’s ability as a quarterback, but for three years he was behind Bubba Fludd,” he noted.

Fludd will play Division I college football at the University of Southern Mississippi next fall.

Richardson was the team’s leading receiver last year and if he plays quarterback it gives an opportunity to some of the younger wide receivers to get a starting job.

Another factor in the quarterback position is Logan Etherton. He played baseball again this year which cut down on his practice reps. He also doesn’t know if he will live in Okeechobee next fall.

Branham said if Etherton returns there will be quite a battle for starting quarterback.

Right now, Richardson will be backed up by Jermaine Moore.

“I’m very proud of him, his management of the team and his poise. A lot of the things he does you can’t coach. He has to learn on the fly. Kysell is a natural leader. You’ve seen that on both the basketball court and the football field,” he said.

Richardson said he doesn’t feel any pressure to perform.

“I’m used to this. I’ve played football since I was a kid. There is really no pressure. I just keep doing what I’ve done since I was little,” he added.

Richardson praised his young offensive line for their blocking and noted they have learned the assignments quickly. He said the young wide receivers have learned the routes and the play book quickly.

“We just have to put it all together. Vero Beach and Sebastian River better look out because we will come to play tonight,” he added.

Richardson said he wants to continue the winning at Okeechobee High School this year and to do that his team must work hard and get serious.

“Senior year only comes one time. I can’t do this again. I’m looking forward to one last trip with my buddies and everything and play hard,” he said.

The jamboree is held at Sebastian River High School, May 12, with kickoff at 6 p.m.

Kysell Richardson (right) has showed agility in the pocket and an accurate throwing arm at spring football practice this month.

Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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