Well, I’m back from a very nice vacation – did you miss me? :-)
First, a quick camp update: We’re waiting to hear back from the high school we’re planning to use –will hopefully hear something this week. As soon as we confirm that, we can publish the dates. On top of that, we now have the contact information for a possible sponsoring hotel that, if it works out, I think you’ll all really enjoy. Again, once things are confirmed we can publish that info as well. Remember, we’re still almost 6 months out so it’s not like we’re running up against any deadlines, even for those who love to plan ahead!
We played our biggest game to date on May 17. Our opponent had taken us out of the playoffs last year, to the tune of 45-14 (or thereabouts – I blocked it out of my mind). Suffice to say that it was a butt-kicking: miserable heat, our players dropping like flies to cramps and cumulative injuries brought about by too many 60-minute games (which will happen when you have a 28 man roster). All that finally caught up to us, along with finally being exposed in both our passing game and in being able to defend the pass.
Looking at their roster and film, it was apparent that they had lost a couple of their best defenders to retirement and their best WR to a move. Couple that with our roster being reinforced by a lot of 2012 players who sat out 2013, we knew that the game should be closer than last year. They still had their two extremely powerful and deceptively fast running backs, and we’d lost a couple of our bigger defenders over the off-season. I wasn’t completely sure that even if we could score on them that we’d be able to stop their ground game.
I’m sure that by now, many of you saw the final score – 64-0 for us. After a first series on defense that came close to having my fear realized (they started marching down the field in 5 yard chunks before we settled down and forced them into passing situations), we responded on our first offensive play with a 55-yard TD pass. We stopped them again, and drove down in 4 or 5 plays to score another TD. Then on the next defensive series, we picked it off for a 75-yard Pick Six. It was 21-0 and still in the 1st quarter. It was 42-0 at half, and we ran the clock for the second half.
So that was a shock – at least to me, and I’m sure to them. I wasn’t shocked that we won – my son asked me before the game what I thought our chances were and I said 70%. But I never imagined winning by that margin and holding them scoreless.
So now what? Due to quirky scheduling, we have two bye weeks in a row, then travel up to them on June 7. Will it be different? I imagine so. I don’t know how many players they may have been missing. I know that most if not all of their “main people” were there, but there may have been some role players that could have been helpful that didn’t make the trip. I’m hoping that all of our people will make the trip. The last time we traveled (to Reno) we were missing 4 starters and two other role players.
Right now I’m trying to anticipate what adjustments they’ll make on both offense and defense. Given their roster and overall personality, I’m not sure they can do too much – they’re not all of a sudden going to turn into a speedy shotgun spread team, for example – it doesn’t fit their personnel at all. But they’ve got to know that if they don’t find some way to get mismatches against us while on offense that they “probably” won’t be able to score enough points to keep up with us. Of course, I’m more interested with how they might adjust to us defensively. This year we give people more problems than we did last year – more overall speed and a very effective passing game. Overall this year we’ve been pretty balanced between run and pass, which is the way I like it, but last game the plan was to come out throwing and see how we could stretch them before trying to run inside on their big DL.
My guess is that they’ll try to overplay one aspect of our offense and hope for either a turnover or a couple of stops to keep them in the game. We’re going to have to be ready especially now to switch gears from what may have worked in the last game to another part of our offense. Fortunately we do have some flexibility in that area, so we’ll see what happens.
Stay tuned – this is starting to be the best time of the year!