Tigers need to make most of limited offensive possessions
"We focused on how to block instead of who to block, how to cover instead of who to cover and things like that," Tiger head coach Lou Valdin said. "We got a lot of work done and we had four days of long practices because the kids were off on Friday."
While the team got a chance to get back to the basics, the off week also allowed several Tigers to lick their wounds, including quarterback Brian Ensminger and linebacker Treval Dunmiles. Ensminger suffered an ankle sprain two weeks ago against Lutcher, but did play in his team's last game against O. Perry Walker. However, the senior quarterback was not at 100 percent.
Dunmiles was injured when he was run over by a woman authorities say was texting at the time of the accident. He hasn’t played in a game all year.
"We had a lot of guys that were beat up and this gave them time to get treated and healed," Valdin said. "A lot of our kids also had some work to do in the classroom, and this open week gave them the chance to do that."
The Tigers got back to regular business this week as they prepared for East Ascension. The Spartans are 4-1 on the year with wins against Sarah Reed, LaGrange, Ellender and Bonnabel. Their only loss came in a 33-13 defeat at the hands of Denham Springs.
East Ascension's offense has been impressive throughout the season, and the team is averaging almost 36 points a game.
"They have the best offensive line we have faced so far," Valdin said. "This is their second year running the split back veer offense, so they've gotten a lot better at it. They also throw the ball a bit better than they did last year."
The split back veer formation forces defenses to play a balanced front, which reduces the likelihood of blitzing linebackers.
The best thing about the offense is that the outside veer, one of the the hardest plays in football to defend, can be run effectively to both sides of the formation.
In last week's 44-7 win over Bonnabel, the Spartans finished with 295 yards of offense. A majority of that - 208 yards - came on the ground.
"We are going to have to play assignment football," Valdin said. "When you face the offense that they run, it's important that your guys are in the right position at all times. We are going to have to be very disciplined."
While East Ascension's offense has put up a lot of points this year, their defense has played extremely well in their four wins, giving up an average of 5.5 points per game.
"They have a great linebacker corps that is really active and they have a lot of guys back from last year," Valdin said. "They run multiple defenses and really provide a lot of different looks."
But just because East Ascension mixes things up on defense that doesn't mean the Tigers will change their game plan on offense.
"We are going to attack them the way we attack everyone else," Valdin said. "We are going to have to run the football and Brian (Ensminger) is going to have to recognize whether they are in a 3- or 4-man front so that he can check into the right play."
One thing the Tigers will have to do is get the most from each offensive possession. Valdin said that East Ascension will try to run the ball to control the clock and shorten the game.
"We are going to have limited possessions because of that," he said. "That means field position is going to be huge for us and we are going to have to maximize our potential on offense.
"Defensively, we also have to get them off the field with three-and-outs...we can't let them drive all the way down the field."
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