CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coach Donnie Mays broke down the offensive line play of his first South Charleston team Tuesday using an overhead projector and software from Hudl.com.
The SC line is a work in progress. Some potential starters, however, took the brunt of Mays' more critical assessments of their performances during Monday's scrimmage against Woodrow Wilson. Throughout the film session, Mays often returned to a mantra.
"It's wrong, but it's fixable. You can work to correct that," he said numerous times.
After the session, a question regarding the 2013 Black Eagles turned Mays' demeanor into that of a schoolboy on Christmas morning:
How do you see the prospects of having Kentre Grier and A.D. Cunningham healthy and in the same backfield for the first time?
In 2012, running back/linebacker Cunningham separated his shoulder in the first half of a game against Capital on Sept. 21. The Cougars led 17-0 at halftime, at which point the SC offense was turned over to the care of freshman quarterback Grier, previously a backup to then-junior Jon Alexander, who now is the starter at rival George Washington.
Grier guided an unlikely comeback in the second half and SC pulled out a 20-17 win at University of Charleston Stadium. A 7-6 loss at Ripley in Week 10 kept the Eagles out of the playoffs though, and they finished with a 6-4 record in former coach John Messinger's final season.
"Now that is a good question," Mays said through a laugh and a calming cough. "I've thought about that a lot during this offseason. That's the one thing we didn't get last year. I didn't get to put Kentre with A.D. in the backfield."
There's reason for Mays to be excited about the prospect. After all, Grier completed 82-of-122 passes (67.2 percent) for 1,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and one interception in 51/2 games last season.
When Cunningham was lost for the season he had 31 carries for 241 yards (7.8 yards per carry) and four TDs as part of a running-back by committee that included Trevond Reese, Ken Haynes, Chrisjamar Perkins and L.K. Richmond. Reese and Haynes have graduated.
"He surprised me a lot, but I'm proud of him," Cunningham said of Grier. "I need to play with him this year."
Though SC lost just one game after Cunningham's injury, the shoulder separation could have been the difference in a playoff bid and sitting home last November. The Eagles averaged 32.3 points per game in the four complete games Cunningham played. The six points scored against Ripley were tied for the second-lowest output by an SC team since 2006.
"Defensively, it killed us," Mays said of losing the 2011 Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year from his linebacker post.
"Offensively, he was our leading rusher going into the week he got hurt. We had Ken, but Ken was kind of like our third-down guy. When you take your main guy out it kind of really put a damper on what we were trying to do in the running game."