Adjusting to game speed is always a challenge the first couple of games out. We were, however, able to take the first possession and move the ball down the field and score on our first drive. Some simple assignment mistakes prevented us from punching it in quickly, but we maintained possession and converted on both a third and long and a fourth down to ensure our offense got off to a good start on the season.
Steady Ground Attack
Our priority has always been to establish a strong running attack and use our play action passing game when necessary to back defenses off of the ball. We were able to assert our dominance in the running game early on Friday and never let off the pedal. Despite limited possessions in the first half, we had scoring opportunities on all of them. The second half allowed us to make some subtle adjustments and pile up a bunch of yards on the ground let by Calvin Pollard’s 181 yards on 21 carries (that is almost a total of 9 yards per carry). If we can average those types of numbers throughout our season, we will be in great shape.
Defensive Shut Out
Although the final scoreboard showed YC with 8 points, those were not given up by the defense. YC only scored when the offense put the ball on the ground. Defending an option attack is all about being disciplined in one’s responsibilities. Our defense did a great job playing assignment football and disallowed YC to get into any type of rhythm all night. The D was flawless in pass defense and limited YC to a total of 101 offensive yards on the night.
Taking Plays Off
One of the challenges with a limited roster is that not a lot of guys have the luxury of coming off the field during the contest. We need to get in much better shape as a team so our young men don’t take selective plays off and jog around the field. Additionally, we must continue to focus on developing our younger players to be ready to provide intermittent breaks to those seeing a majority of the playing time. Although “break time” didn’t impact the outcome of the game Friday, it most certainly will against better opponents as we get deeper into the season.
Putting the Ball on the Ground
Despite only losing one fumble (that was ultimately returned for a touchdown late in the game), we put the ball on the ground four times during the game. This is something that cannot happen if we are to have success this season. Fortunately this is an area that can be cleaned up in practice and will be emphasized with our skill players moving forward. Ball security has always been a focus of ours and needs to improve immediately. The fumbles didn’t impact the final outcome this week, but continuously putting the ball on the ground in future contests will.