GREENBRIER — THE SKINNY: 2012 is a season of adjustment at Greenbrier, which continued Wednesday afternoon.
The Panthers’ season-opening football game agaisnt Beebe at home has been moved to 7 p.m. Thursday instead of Friday because of impending weather.
On the field, there’s a different adjustment. Record-setting quarterback Neal Burcham, who passed for 9,806 yards in his career and sparked the Panthers to 27 victories in three seasons (their greatest three-season run in 5A), is at SMU.
"He’s one of those players you have the opportunity to coach once in a career," said Greenbrier coach Randy Tribble. "But you learn in this profession you have to move on."
Tribble expects the Panthers again to have a strong offense and they will be more experienced in the offensive and defensive lines.
OFFENSE: Seth Peters, who was on the receiving end of many of Burcham’s passes last season, moves to quarterback and appears a capable hand the throttle.
"Seth is an athletic quarterback who can run jump and has great hands," said Tribble. "With Seth, we’ve gonna be good at quarterback again."
Austin Fischer, who rushed for 713 yards last season and caught 10 passes for 695 yards and 10 touchdowns, again gives the Panthers a versatile threat at running back. Top receives should be Jesse May, who caught 15 passes for 212 yards last season, Jacob Colbert and Garrett Johnson. Tribble also has high hopes for Conway transfer Gerrell Williamson. Fletcher Hartwick, Kenny Jones and Logan Brown are also expected to move into the picture at receiver.
"Our skill group should be OK," Tribble said. "Fischer can go from running back to receiver when we use empty backfield situations," Tribble said. "He’s fun to watch. May is a two-year starter who has made a lot of plays for us. Williamson is the fatest guy we have and can really catch the football."
Seniors Zach Gerbholtz, one of the strongest players on the team, Nolan Kinder, Sam Bradway, Robert Meredith and Aaron Terry are an experienced offensive line.
DEFENSE: Gerbholtz, who can play end or tackle. Zane Richard and Michael Samuhels form a quicker group at end.
May is an experienced linebacker with a penchant for big plays. Fischer will lead the secondary, supported by Jake Buchanan and Williamson.
KEY QUESTIONS: Can the Greenbrier offense operate at close to the efficiency as it did under Burcham? Can more experienced defensive line solidify things up front? What about depth?
YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Greenbrier won a total of seven games its first four years in Class 5A. The Panthers have won nine games in each of the last three seasons.
DON’T MISS: The Panthers’ home game against Shiloh Christian on Oct. 19 should be a shootout and the season-ending game against Vilonia on Nov. 1 should have high stakes.