Lawrence said at least during the first five games of the season – the non-district portion of the schedule – Hardee will start at running back and have spot duty on defense and in certain defensive situations.
“Are we going to eliminate Josh from defense? No. But, his primary focus will be at running back. We do plan to spot-play Josh defensively as we need him,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence was asked if he had thought about just starting Hardy on both offense and defense.
“Yes, it was discussed,” Lawrence said. “We have indeed looked at it. But he is so valuable to our offense that we would be taking a huge risk playing him both ways. Especially when you consider the end of a ball game when he would start getting tired.
“Hopefully, we will be smart about it, and we will take a look at it as the season progresses. But especially early in the non-district portion of the season when the games really don’t count (toward a playoff spot) there is not any sense in him going both ways.
“All players these days are bigger, stronger and faster than in the past. And a player probably would not be as effective late in the game if he never left the field. Also, there is a greater risk of injury to someone who plays both ways, especially late in a game.
“But early in the season we can’t justify that risk by playing Josh both ways. He will start off as our starting running back and play in specific situations on defense.
“We talked about how we were going to use Josh as a staff, and we agree upon it as a staff. How the season goes will dictate any changes in that, but this is how we are going to start the season.”
The Rams open the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30, at home against state-ranked No. 9 Graham.