Indians will definitely be better

Colville opens with rival FreemanColville High returns more players than anybody in the Great Northern League this fall. The Indians, who struggled to a 3-7, 1-5 record with a group long on inexperience last fall, look to rebound and make things interesting in the rigorous GNL this fall.Colville ended a frustrating 2012 season with an eye-opening 26-20 win in the mud over Pullman. That upset cost the ‘Hounds an undisputed GNL championship and instilled some confidence in the Indians.There is no reason not to continue where CHS left off against Pullman last November.‘A better team’“It’s clear to me that we are a better team this year than last year,” head coach Randy Cornwell said last week. “Every practice, we seem to see some gains. That really isn’t typical. I just think this is a hungry group that wants to do well. They don’t back off and they haven’t shown me anything that I don’t like. I like their approach…they push each other and are working hard to succeed.”Colville has 11 seniors on the roster and 14 juniors.Until the break-through “Mudder” win last November against a senior laden (13 seniors) Pullman team, Colville struggled at times on both sides of the ball. The offense was sporadic and inconsistent.The Indians will be better on offense, particularly if a big—and mostly green-offensive line can gel. Junior quarterback Ben Knight is bigger and stronger (like a lot of his teammates). The 6-2, 160-pounder (6-0, 135 last season) was impressive in a couple of camps this summer. “Ben is just a different-looking kid this year,” Cornwell said of the lefty. “He’s quicker and much stronger. He throws the ball really well—and accurately—and he knows the game.”A major concern is in the aforementioned offensive line, where a couple of players the Indians were counting on to anchor the trenches opted not to play. Knight isn’t particularly mobile or athletic. The Indians will have to give Knight time in the pocket.“He’s not a scrambler,” conceded Cornwell. “We have to protect him. That’s the key…we have to keep Ben upright back there.”If the Indians can do that, Knight has the ability to consistently find receivers.**SEE FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK'S STATESMAN EXAMINER**