By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
The Portales Rams and first-year head coach Andy Correll will unveil their new wing-T offense tonight as they open the 2006 football season on the road, against the best, the defending class 3A state champion Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals.
“We’re ready, we’re excited, we’re looking forward to see how we match up against the state champs,” senior halfback Eric Segovia said.
Correll agrees, and says the kids are picking up on the wing-T formation.
“We had a good week (of practice) and we threw in some new wrinkles on the kids, and they’ve really responded well.” Correll continued, “With this type of offense its all about angles and finding the right personnel.”
Correll is still undecided about which quarterback will lead the Rams this season, so he plans on playing the top two candidates, senior signal caller Richard Cage and junior Chris Mosier. Cage is expected to start the game, but Mosier will also get plenty of playing time in an attempt to name a starting quarterback.
“It’s still wide open at this stage,” Correll says about the quarterback situation. “Both (Cage and Mosier) will get significant playing time Friday night, It’ll be a good test.”
Mosier says he expects to take about half of the snaps tonight.
“I think we’re going to alternate quarters, (Richard) will start, and play the third quarter, and I’ll play the second and fourth quarters,” Mosier said.
“Chris is a strong kid, he throws the ball a little better than Richard,” Correll said. “But Richard is a great vocal leader.”
Correll does plan to play some underclassmen, sophomore safety Brandon McAfee for instance. “Brandon is about as sound as we have at safety.”
The Cardinals lost a huge chunk of their state championship team from a year ago, 18 starters in all were lost to graduation, but despite the turnover, Correll expects them to be just as tough.
“Coming off a state championship, we know they’ll be flying high. We expect them to be solid,” Correll said.
The Rams don’t have much scouting information to go on, that’s because the usual practice of exchanging game or practice tapes, didn’t happen this time around.
“The last tape we have of them was the state championship game last year against Lovington,” Correll said.
Based on that, the Portales coaching staff expects Robertson to run most plays out of an I-formation, to an offset-I, running plenty of power runs, and sweeps. Correll also expects them to spread the field out after establishing the running game, and run some play-action passes. “They have a very talented backfield,” Correll said.
Correll says he will be looking for several offensive keys to victory tonight.
“With our ball control offense, we can’t have many three-and-outs.”
Correll also wants his kids to be strong on the fundamentals.
“Our guys need to play through the whistle, maintain our blocks, make sure our running backs hit the hole, and when we throw the ball, we’ve got to give our receivers a chance to make plays for us. Our goal since day 1 was to be better today than we were yesterday.”
On the defensive side, it’s real simple.
“We just can’t give up any big plays,” Correll continued, “and we have to make tackles.
If we execute the game plan, things will take care of themselves, Correll said.
For Segovia, this will be the first time he’s hit the field since a devastating knee injury sidelined him for the season in last season’s district opener against Lovington.
“The knee is fine, I’m just excited to get out there and get started,” Segovia said.