Spring Football: Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This is the second of six stories on spring football in Rowan County.
Today: Salisbury
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — The college coaches have been flooding into Joe Pinyan’s office at Salisbury, enamored with one of his Hornets.
No surprise there. Every spring, a Hornet or two — or three — do so well in combines and look so good on film, colleges want to swoop in and make a connection.
Salisbury has a good reputation that keeps recruiters beating down Pinyan’s door. Matt Butler and Scotty Robinson at East Carolina, along with Gordy Witte at Appalachian State, were starters in college. Butler was even invited to the Detroit Lions camp. Everyone knows about Romar Morris and Darien Rankin, ready to begin their careers at North Carolina after a redshirt freshman season.
This year’s “Man Among Boys” at Salisbury is Keion Adams.
He is next in line to be the main man. And he left no doubt about his potential in a recent combine. He ran a 4.6 40.
Pretty good for someone who weighs 231 pounds.
“I can’t get them a scholarship,” Pinyan said. “They can get it if they earn it.”

The 6-foot-1 Adams is doing just that. Pinyan said he wasn’t sure where he was going to play Adams in the fall. That’s what the spring is for. To experiment, get stronger and get faster. He said Adams could play just about anywhere on defense and could play tight end, running back or quarterback.
“We’re moving Bauk to guard,” Pinyan joked.
He was referring to Brian Bauk, who took over the offense from John Knox as a junior and didn’t miss a beat until he suffered a shoulder injury late in the season.
“Bauk’s healing up,” Pinyan reported. “He’s throwing.”
Bauk is being recruited — as a baseball player. But football is next for a kid who could win the CCC Player of the Year next season.
“Our backfield should be OK,” Pinyan said, adding that Justin Ruffin and Max Allen are back to provide power and speed.

Defense is where the adjustments are being made. The Hornets lost eight starters.
Even with that veteran defense, Salisbury finished 11-3 last year, missing out on a second straight trip to the state championship game. But there’s this fall to think about and Pinyan annually churns out quality athletes. Put good athletes with that wild and wooly wishbone offense and there’s always the possibility of a state title game apperance.
Pinyan will do with without assistant J.K. Adkins, who left to coach East Wilkes. But he likes his other young assistants.
“Our coaches put in a lot of time,” he said. “A lot of young coaches don’t understand what it takes to be really, really good. If you’re not working hard and winning, you need to pat yourself on the back and buy a lottery ticket because you’re a lucky son of a gun.”

Pinyan will keep his workouts in-house during the summer.
“We don’t need all of the 7-on-7s as skill development,” Pinyan said. “We feel like we’ve got skill developed kids. We just need to get them stronger.”
Adams isn’t alone in the workout department. Pinyan thinks running back Justin Ruffin will be recruited. Humongous offensive lineman Parker McKeithan stands in at 6-foot-5, 275 and recruiters love his size. He has joined Bauk on the baseball team and may be the largest pitcher in North Carolina.

Pinyan says the nature of the coaching game is watching kids develop over four years, then start with another group.
Pinyan looked over at a group of ever-growing youngsters.
“That’s part of the business,” he said. “In four years, these freshmen will be gone.”
But in three years, they’ll be seniors. And one of them will be like Adams.
At Salisbury, he’ll be next in a long line of stars.