High-scoring, fast-paced offense on deck for football



A.J. Atkinson

Under the direction of a new coaching staff, the Flashes will display a new, fast-paced offense this fall. After being outscored by their opponents 275-256 last season, the Flashes look to establish an offense that offensive coordinator Brian Rock said “wants to score fast and look good doing it.”

“We’re going to attack the defense,” Rock said. “We’re trying to put the defense on their heels, so spreading the field, using an up-tempo offense and using a variety of groupings and formations gives you that ability.”

To put the defense on their heels, the Flashes look to confuse their opponents by using the versatility of their players. Many of the players can line up and play more than one position. For instance, in a simple call, a wide receiver can switch to the backfield and a running back can become a wide receiver.

“At any given moment, we can run or pass,” junior wide receiver Tyshon Goode said. “We have the defense on their toes. They don’t know what we’re going to do.”

The offense is one Rock and head coach Darrell Hazell have used in their respective coaching careers. Rock and his players look at this new formula as an improvement from previous years’ offensive schemes.

“To be honest, I feel the offense we’re going into this fall will be better for us because it allows us to use all our weapons,” running back Jacquise Terry said. “It’s a fast-paced offense. We’ve been conditioning to go fast. Coach said we want the scores to just pop up. First half, first quarter, 14-0 real quick. Trying to wear out the defense.”

Another tactic to keeping the defense thinking is offensive calls at the line of scrimmage. Junior quarterback Spencer Keith will have more responsibility reading the defense, called checks, and seeing if he needs to change the play.

“The offense is definitely more complicated,” Keith said. “We’ve got a lot more checks to make based on what the defensive line does and the linebackers’ cover. I have to really know the offense like the back of my hand. But everyone plays a part in it. Receivers have a couple option routes where they have to figure out if they’re going to do a corner or a cut back. We just have to be more prepared.”

Though the Flashes are strong in the running back position, one of their most experienced running backs will not be putting on the blue and gold uniform this season. Running back Dri Archer is out for the season due to falling below the NCAA’s academic standards. The junior rushed for 140 yards in 40 attempts with one touchdown for the Flashes last season.

With Hazell’s wide use of players, the loss of one running back is not detrimental to the Flashes’ offense, for the team never planned to use just one running back this season. Freshman running backs Anthony Meray and Robert Holloman continue to impress coaches, as well as the junior transfer from Akron, Larry Dawson. The backfield will also be led by senior Jacquise Terry. Terry led the team in rushing last season, carrying the ball for 542 yards in 151 rushing attempts an average of 3.6 yards per carry. The loss of Archer just means more playing time for the other running backs.

How effective this offense is relies mainly on Keith’s ability to read the defense, get the offense in the right protection and execute the plays. Rock said he has full confidence Keith is ready for this added responsibility.

“We’re going to have a starting quarterback who can be smart and play to the level within himself and be able to run our offense,” Rock said, “and I promise you we have that guy.”

The returning players also believe they have a stronger bond due to the process of the school’s search for a new head coach back in November.

“Players got together because there was a period when we didn’t know who our coach would be,” Goode said. “It was just us players keeping each other together. When Coach Hazell came, he enforced his rules and told us how he’d go about things. It just brought everybody closer.”

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter A.J. Atkinson at [email protected].