Football Team Adapting To New Coach and System
Courtesy of Sports Information Desk
With two Spring Ball scrimmages under their belt, it’s fair to say the offensive show that Southern Oregon head football coach Craig Howard promised to deliver is starting to take shape.
The Raiders put the offense and also the defense up for display for a final time on Friday night during the annual Black and White Spring Game at Raider Stadium.
Playing with a group of returners that were used to playing a slower, ground and clock control offense, Howard has been impressed with the way they have adapted to his no-huddle, spread offense.
“They have adapted really well,” Howard said. “They love it, they love to come to practice every day. We have installed a lot of our offense already and we keep installing more so we are ready when the Fall comes.
A group of returning quarterbacks and a pair of newcomers have shown promise during the scrimmages.
Sophomore Chris Kammel and junior AJ Palazzolo have been sharing time with the No. 1 offense during the Spring. Kammel has shined during the first two scrimmages.
Also in the mix are senior Paul Sweeney and walk-on Matt Atkins. Senior Mike McDonald, who had the Raiders off to a fast start last year before an injury ended his season, has been limited to non-contact drills in practice.
“Chris and AJ have sort of moved to the front of a list, but I expect this to be a battle all through the Summer,” Howard said. “I’m excited to see what Mike can do when he gets healthy. They have a lot on their shoulders, they are our coaches on the field.”
Also making noise during the Spring has been newcomer Mike Olson. The transfer receiver from American River had a pair of touchdowns last week in Medford.
“Mike has been the star,” Howard said. “He’s done the most during our scrimmages and is really taking advantage of the opportunity to play.”
A trio of running backs have also had a chance to shine in the wide open offensive approach of the Raiders. Senior Brandon Baldwin and newcomer Manny Barragan and returner Marshawn Friloux have all caught the eyes of the coaching staff.
On the offensive line, the Raiders have battled through the Spring with limited numbers, but offensive line coach Chris Fisk is pleased with what he’s seen, especially out of junior Matt Rogers.
Overall, the Raiders are getting to right where Howard wants them.
“We want to play fast, from the first play through the last play,” Howard said. “We now need to finish Spring Ball with a flurry and keep the tempo fast.”