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A week of introspection
FB - Mark Bouldin.jpg
Junior Mark Bouldin performed a courageous and honest self-evaluation after the DeKalb County game this past Friday. Bouldin has been praised for his effort and stepping into the offensive line rotation as a starter because of positive COVID-19 tests. Bouldin is pictured against Cookeville. - photo by Brad Durham

Head Pioneer football coach Matt Turner gave his team an assignment after the DeKalb County game Friday night. He asked the team to review film and evaluate themselves individually. 

At the end of practice Monday, Mark Bouldin is the only player whom coach Turner said completed the assignment correctly. Turner said, “Bouldin’s self-evaluation looked like some of the ways I learned how to do it in college.”

After practice on Monday, Bouldin talked about the assignment and his self-evaluation. Bouldin said, “We were supposed to write about what we did right and what we did wrong, to do some self-evaluating. The pros and cons for me was that I was simply not fast enough off the ball, and I was not looking at the linebackers. The linebackers were getting a free release on my side. I played all the offensive plays up until the fourth quarter, and I evaluated myself for every one of my plays. They were beatable. They were a little quick, especially their noseguard.”

Bouldin continued, “I knew most of the plays. It was just a matter of not having game experience. The hardest part was learning under pressure. The atmosphere in the school has changed with homecoming. I think it will be a good game. I am about 5-foot-8 and around 315 pounds. I probably will not start this week because I made a lot of mistakes. I know what I did wrong, and I could have done better. I have to correct myself and get the coaching I need. It hurt watching film … I know that I messed up. I feel like with the game experience I will be a better player in the future. With my size and speed, coach Slatton is talking to me about playing center, not guard.”

There was a lot brisk activity at practice Monday. The football team appeared to be much quicker and the team definitely hustled during agility drills at the end of practice run by coach Preston Smith and the coaching staff. Mark Bouldin articulated in words the spirit of the practice -- there was a willingness to learn and get better.

The players who have been absent with COVID-19 have returned, which will change the starting lineups for the offense and defense. There was valid optimism as the varsity started the week of practice. The focus was on execution. The agility drills were designed to help players be in better position to block and tackle. 

Because of all the absences during the pandemic, the team was going through the type of fundamental drills that will help them get back up to speed for the homecoming game at Nunley Stadium on Friday night against Shelbyville.

Players of the Game against DeKalb County voted on by the coaches were:

Braylon Grayson – MVP of the Game

Nate Elrod and Alex van Vuuren – Co-Offensive Players of the Game

Keldrick Cox – Defensive Player of the Game

Brayan Holguin – Special Teams Player of the Game