MIDLOTHIAN – If there is a ball about to be played during scrimmage time in Midlothian’s spring practices, odds are Michael Glenn is on the field. The offensive and defensive units utilize his speed and agility as often as they can.
Which begs the question – where will Glenn line up come fall?
“Mike’s really stepped up this spring. He’s had a good spring on both sides of the ball which is exciting,” defensive coordinator Chris King said. “We came in not really knowing what he could do. He got a little bit of time last year but not enough to really get a fair evaluation. Last week and pretty much all this week we’ve let him go both ways, let him run the show.”
Glenn’s career as a Panther has been defined by change. In 2009, he arrived on the varsity scene as a running back under then coach Robby Clark. He finished the season as the team’s second-leading rusher with 57 carries for 191 yards. He also had three receptions for 10 yards.
When Clark resigned and new coach Lee Wiginton and his staff stepped in, it signaled a new role for Glenn who made the shift to defense for much of the season. He finished with 14 tackles last fall in limited playing time thanks to a slew of senior players ahead of him.
Two weeks into spring practice and Glenn has found a spot on defense primarily. But he’s still finding a way to the other side of the ball too.
“Right now I’m feeling pretty good about being middle linebacker. That’s where I’m practicing most. I’m still crossing over to the offense,” Glenn said.
It’s evident both sides of the ball can still use him. In one sequence at a practice last week, Glenn rushed the ball a handful of times for several first downs. When that series was over, he returned to defense and tackled a breakaway running back from behind who would have scored had he not been able to make the play.
To Glenn, it’s just another day at the office.
“I think some of them are just making small mental mistakes that we can fix easily. Me helping chase them down that’s just part of my job,” Glenn said.
For Wiginton, Glenn’s usage is one of many examples on the importance of spring practice. Last season, the new coach spent the first few weeks of practice simulating a battle royal where every player, no matter what their experience level, competed for virtually every job on the field they were capable of doing.
That same situation has resulted this year although without as wide of a range. Glenn isn’t the only player still trying to figure out the definition of his role. He just happens to be the most high profile.
“Being at the halfway point of spring ball there’s still a lot of them that are just battling everywhere. For us it’s just a daily, trying to keep them competing daily for every position and us, evaluating and finding out where that best fits going to be,” Wiginton said. “Mike certainly can help a bunch of places. It’s really just going to come down to when and where he can help the team the most.”
Wiginton and King sit down every day after practice evaluating players on their individual performances, determining who can help in what area. The key is finding who has earned the right to be a starter and who will be a backup.
As for Glenn, he just keeps doing whatever is asked of him. Offense or defense, it doesn’t matter. Wherever the coaches stick him is where he’ll go and if they want to move him he’s open to suggestion.
“I like the idea of playing football. No matter where it is, it don’t really matter to me,” Glenn said.
There was some good news at practice last week as both Myron Hanson, Jesse Rios and Jarmon Jackson all suited up for work. Hanson, last year’s starting center, had been out the first few days of practice with a shoulder injury but did snap the ball a few times during drills. Rios had on pads for the first time this spring and worked in drills but limited his contact. Jackson also wore pads but is still recovering from wrist surgery. All three players wore red medical jerseys to signify no contact.
The spring session is over for twins Dustin and Justin Seeton who will have to heal up for the fall. Dustin suffered an arm injury that will hold him out while Justin has a back injury. Both players are expected to be healthy for the start of two-a-days.
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