There is no argument as to who is Bastrop's most versatile offensive lineman. David Palmer has played both tackle and both guard positions effectively over the course of his career.
“We can put Palmer anywhere on the offensive line except center and he can operate at full capacity,” Bastrop offensive line coach Sedarrin Freeman said.
Filling in wherever he was needed, Palmer was invaluable to the Rams as a sixth offensive lineman and spot starter last season. He emerged from spring practice as the starting right tackle, but was moved to right guard two weeks ago when Freeman tweaked the O-line following the Ruston scrimmage. Playing guard enables Palmer to make the optimum use of his strength.
“He's one of the strongest guys on the team,” Freeman said. “He needs to take the things he can do in the weight room and apply them on the field, which I think he will. I'm expecting big things from Palmer. I'm expecting him to have a great senior year.”
The conscientious Palmer has been a regular at summer workouts throughout his career.
“I can remember him being a freshman and trying to do everything he could to get on the field,” Freeman recalled.
Palmer wasn't content with just getting on the field, though.
“He's always asking me, 'Coach, what can I do to get better?'” Freeman said. “He takes what I tell him and tries to apply it on the field.”
As one of only two holdovers on the offensive line — center Rodney Jackson is the Rams' only full-time returning starter — Palmer has embraced a leadership role.
“Palmer wants the role of being a senior leader,” Freeman said. “I'm expecting Palmer and Rodney Jackson to be our leaders. They're our only veterans on the offensive line and I expect them to perform that way.”
Freeman says Palmer is the type of young man that makes him look forward to going to work every day.
“I really like David Palmer as a person, not just as a football player,” Freeman said.
BDE: When did you start playing football?
David Palmer: When I was in the 5th grade, I played Pee Wee for the Falcons and coach Bo Trotter.
The next year, I was one pound over the weight limit, so I didn't get to play.
BDE: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of football?
Palmer: The part I hate is penalties. I got me a crackback in the (ASH) scrimmage and caused Isaiah Graham's touchdown to get called back.
Page 2 of 3 - My favorite part is — and I know this is going to sound mean — having the opportunity to bury the person in front of you.
BDE: Coming off of the Ruston scrimmage, how important was it for the Rams to have a good outing against ASH last week?
Palmer: It was very important because we didn't show up ready to play against Ruston. We needed to come out and show what we are capable of doing.
BDE: Why was there such a big improvement from the Ruston scrimmage to the ASH scrimmage?
Palmer: We knew we had some stuff to fix, but the Ruston game was a wakeup call. We were mad Friday. Everybody was on the same page.
The Ruston scrimmage showed us that you can't just show up and expect to get better. We have to show up to play every single snap and I thought we did that against ASH.
BDE: How is the move from right tackle to right guard working out?
Palmer: I like right guard better because it's more physical. At right tackle, you have to be able to handle the speed guy coming off the edge. I played every position on the line except center last year, so moving to right guard was an easy adjustment.
BDE: How is the offensive line shaping up?
Palmer: We have a chance to have a real good line. We have some faults — I'm not going to lie about that — but once we all get on the same page, I expect us to do some big things.
BDE: What challenges does Ouachita's defense present for the Rams' offense?
Palmer: Ouachita has good size. We played them in the spring game and they're a tough defense for the simple fact that they never give up. They play from whistle to whistle. This will be the best defense we've seen so far.
BDE: What is the biggest improvement you have made since last season?
Palmer: I've gotten stronger. I came up here every day over the summer except for the week after my grandfather (Louis Charles Palmer) passed.
I'm not going to say that I've gotten faster.
BDE: Which game are you most looking forward to?
Palmer: Neville. We haven't beaten them since I've been here and this is my last chance.
BDE: What are the biggest hits you have received and delivered?
Page 3 of 3 - Palmer: In one of our games last year, I was running downfield after the running back broke a long run and got crackbacked. It didn't hurt that bad, but it caught me off guard.
My hardest hit came against St. Michael in the playoffs last year. I was playing right guard and went out and knocked the linebacker off his feet. He was down for a few seconds; he didn't pop right back up.
BDE: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Palmer: Sometimes I like to be off to myself. Not to sound crazy, but I like to be by myself in my own mind. People think I'm depressed when I do that — especially the coaches — but I just need time to myself.
BDE: What do you like best about attending Bastrop High?
Palmer: The teachers here care, every single one of them. They don't just sit an assignment in front of you and walk away. They actually teach.
BDE: What are your future plans?
Palmer: I really want to go to the University of Alabama and major in business.