There are still more questions than answers as Mike Paroli tries to restore the Douglas Byrd football program to the glory years it enjoyed under him and his father Bob Paroli during most of the 1990s.
But during this year’s spring practice, the younger Paroli focused on finding a quarterback and continuing to build on a successful year in the weight room as the Eagles seek to improve on a 0-11 record last year.
“Our strength has increased, and our attendance has been good,’’ said Mike Paroli. “We still need a situation where a good number of jayvees are coming to the varsity. That hasn’t happened the last two years.’’
Despite not having the kind of overall numbers he’d like, Paroli aims to play two-platoon football as much as possible this season. “We had a couple of games we were up in the fourth quarter and didn’t win,’’ Paroli said. “Others were close at halftime, and things got away quickly for us in the second half.
“We’re trying to find 22 kids so at some point we can win a game in the second half.’’
Paroli is also looking for a quarterback. The top contenders are Kamahree Futrell and John Carroll. Carroll played wide receiver and running back last season. Futrell started on the junior varsity and was promoted during the season.
“John took a physical pounding but never got hurt and never fumbled,’’ Paroli said. “We want to get to the point where we feel we can hand it off or give it or toss it or they can run it.’’
Bryheem Swanson will be a senior defensive back for Byrd this season. Like his coach, he feels discipline and mental strength are keys for the Eagles to prevent games from slipping away at the end like they did last season.
“Last year we had a lot of close games,’’ he said. “When the second half rolled around we couldn’t finish.’’
Swanson thinks the Eagles have weeded out players who didn’t want to commit to the program fully. “Now we’ve got people willing to work hard and stay in the weight room every day,’’ he said.
Swanson feels spring practice has gone well for the Eagles and hopes it translates into a better season this fall.
“We didn’t put up a lot of points because teams were bigger and stronger than us,’’ he said. “We’ll put the offense to the test and try to score more points than we did last year.’’
Photo: Bryheem Swanson will be a senior defensive back for Byrd this season.