“If anybody wants to challenge us on offense, I dare ‘em!”
Campbell County head coach Justin Price put out the challenge last Thursday night, as the Cougars traveled to South Doyle for their spring scrimmage.
However, it looks like it may not be a big order to meet during the 2013 campaign.
“Obviously, we have some good receivers that are stepping up, but right now we’re working on our running game,” junior quarterback, Ethan Jeffers said. “I think it’ll be deadly right now. We have such a big, strong line, it’ll be hard to stop us.”
With Paul Courdle playing as the main man in the backfield this season, and with the addition a couple of newcomers, things are looking bright.
For the team, it’ll help keep the defense on their toes this season.
“People scheme for us to throw all the time,” Jeffers said. “If we run, it just keeps the defense honest.”
For Justin Price, the sentiment rang true.
“If you go back and look at film every year, the big thing last year is that everybody is giving us easy runs,” Justin Price said. “In the past, it’s been easy throws. Now, everybody is trying to triple and double team (our receivers), and we’ve got to be able to attack them in between the tackles. That’s one thing that we’ve worked on this spring.”
During the scrimmage with South Doyle, the scheme worked.
With Courdle taking the ball up the middle, it opened up a lot of things for the offense.
“If we’re sending out five receivers, and they’re dropping eight, we’re six on five in the box,” Justin Price said. “As a math teacher and football coach, I’ve got to learn how to win the numbers game, and that’s going to give us the advantage.”
Whether it was the run game, or simply the extra year of experience, the momentum of the game seemed to be relaxed for the signal caller.
“Jeffers, right now, has come a long way mentally,” the head coach said. “Up front, we’re more nasty up there. We talk about being more physical and finishing blocks.”
With a solid run game, a ‘nasty’ offensive line and a more experienced quarterback, the dividends could be huge.
Against the physical South Doyle team last week, Jeffers threw 16 passes.
Of those throws, 13 were completed, one was dropped and the other was batted at the line of scrimmage.
His only miscue on the night was an interception on a long heave downfield.
However, for defensive coordinator Matt Price, a dare could be given on his defense as well.
With Cody Monday filling the middle of the defensive front and Nick Bailey right behind him at middle linebacker, things could get interesting.
“I think our box is probably as good as anybody in the district with Bailey, Evans, Monday, Isaac Ford and hopefully Dylan Presnell, if he comes back from his injury,” Matt Price said. “That’s why we spend a lot of time working some edge stuff. Going to South Doyle the other day, we saw a lot of speed – probably more athletes than we’ll see.”
On an early run, South Doyle was able to take one around the right end, going 65 yard for a score.
“Teams aren’t going to run at guys that are 6-4, 300 pounds,” Matt Price said. “They’re going to go to the edge on us. We know it’s coming, and hopefully we can scheme for some things.”
However, for most of the night, the middle gave up little yards, if any, while stopping many of the plays behind the line of scrimmage.
“We’re pretty tough inside with the size, and we’re pretty strong, too,” Bailey said. “I think what we’re going to have to work on is our outside positions. They’re going to have to be sharp.”
“Games are won on the line, and you need strength and size to do it,” Monday said, saying they need to keep working out. “I think we’re definitely one of the strongest teams around.”
Could they see anyone going up the middle, however?
“Honestly, I can’t see it happening,” Monday said with a smile.
For the first plays on Thursday night, Matt Price knows it was okay to let some things slide.
“Those first 10 plays, we hadn’t schemed at all,” the defensive coordinator said. “They were throwing in some Jet stuff that we hadn’t seen. We talked to them between series, ‘Here’s where you need to key, and we need to work on leverage.’ The second 10 plays, I felt like we dominated. That was good to see. Things got bad, but they came back and handled adversity well.”
Tonight, Thursday night, the Cougars will host their annual Orange and Blue game.
For the defense, they may feel a little limited.
“Our defense in that game is going to be base, because Coach (Justin) Price wants to put up some numbers,” Matt Price said with a laugh. “He told us we had two plays on defense. One thing that you will see is guys flying around, guys playing fast and hopefully us making tackles…we’re going to be a very physical football team.”
The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., as competitions will be held before the game and during halftime.
There may also be a couple surprises.
“We’ll have something up our sleeve,” Justin Price said. “Coach (Josh) James, Coach (Dan) Turner and Coach (Jason) Swiney, they come up with some crazy stuff. Coach (Cody) Parker’s always got something deep in that pocket.”