Grand Saline Tweaking Offensive, Defensive Schemes
GRAND SALINE -- Lightning forced Grand Saline and coach Mike Ludlow into the middle school gym Monday morning, but the Indians and their second-year boss remained upbeat about the start of the 2012 football season.
The Tribe buzzed around the gym and coaches barked orders under the not-so-August circumstances as rain fell throughout the northern parts of the area. Ludlow said Grand Saline was trying to make the most of the first day of fall practice.
"(The rain) screws up a lot because one of the first things you teach is alignment and spacing. You can talk about it in the gym but you can't see it," Ludlow said. "We have landmarks for our receivers (to line up according to). It's hard to actually show kids where to line up without those landmarks. You kind of have to go back and teach the same stuff. You kind of lose a day this early on, but it's not as bad if you're already into the season."
Grand Saline will tweak its offensive and defensive schemes in 2012. While the Indians will stay with an odd defensive front, they are switching from a 3-3 stack base defense to a 3-4 scheme.
"We're going to let our athletes play. This year our more athletic kids are some of our bigger kids that can play end spots and run," Ludlow said. "We've got some kids in the middle that can stuff it."
Offensively, Grand Saline will stick with its base pistol formation, a shotgun set that puts the tailback directly behind the quarterback and is conducive to running the football despite a spread look. The tweak will be how Grand Saline runs the ball from that pistol formation.
Ludlow plans to sometimes run true veer (option-based) plays from the pistol, rather than the oft-used zone veer that teams have grown accustomed to running -- and defending -- during the spread era.
"We're very similar to the naked eye or to a coach who hasn't seen film. They're going to see the same stuff. (But) we've gone old school in some of our schemes," Ludlow said. "We don't have as big of linemen, but it's going to let our linemen play without having to lock up and drive people. ... We're able to go old school with a new-school look. For people who just watch the box, you're going to see some old-school stuff in there. It's going to be a unique look and a unique style."
Senior tailback T.J. Ollison will be the focal point of Grand Saline's offense. Ollison ran for almost 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards per carry as a junior. Ludlow also has high hopes for sophomore quarterback Austen Truett, who ran for 834 yards and eight touchdowns and threw for almost 800 yards in 2011.
Tight end Dean Latta (6-4, 210) and receiver/cornerback John Corrales could also be key players.
"I look for Latta and Corrales to have huge years, too," Ludlow said.