The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Move over option; here comes the spread

  • Bulldogs unveils new offense at Sullivan event.
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  • Move over option game.
    Here comes the spread.
    After just a few days of practicing it during its two-week camp, the Rolla High School football team unveiled its new spread offensive formation last Friday during the Sullivan Full-Contact Camp.
    The full-contact camp, held at Sullivan High School, also featured Salem, Sullivan and Northwest Cedar Hill. It was the final full-contact summer scrimmage event for the Bulldogs before the first day of Missouri prep football practice on Aug. 4.
    Actually, Rolla head coach Willie Howard has been planning to add the spread to the Bulldogs’ arsenal for some time now, and the team has been gearing towards it during summer 7-on-7 drills.
    “I guess the secret's out of the bag now,” Howard said after Rolla used it during Friday’s scrimmage. “I was very happy with our effort on both sides of the ball. I’m a long way from being satisfied. But very happy.
    “We installed a new offense in nine days. I’m very happy with the communication of the kids. We did open it up.”
    Ever since Gary Miles took over for Danny Heitert as RHS football head coach in 1988 Rolla has used a run-first style of offensive philosophy. And since then from head coaching tenures of Miles to Scott Stallcup to Brock Roweton to Josh Smith to Howard, the running game has been the backbone of the Bulldog offense.
    That may be changing back to the Air-Bulldog days of Jim Anderson and Heitert head coaching eras.
    The past several years the run-dominated option game has been the base offense for RHS, which is coming off a 1-9 campaign in 2013.
    However, with the Ozark Conference becoming almost solely a high-scoring, spread league, Howard said it was time for the Bulldogs to open things up.
    “Defensive football in high school has kind of went by the wayside,” Howard said. “It’s hard to win a 7-0 game anymore. You’ve got to utilize your athletes and spread the offense to try and keep defenses on the field.
    “We spent a lot of time in the summer 7-on-7 league more involved in the instillation of the passing game. And the camp gave us the opportunity to install and teach.”
    BULLDOG NOTES: The first Bulldog practice of the season is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 at Lions Memorial Field.
    The Rolla Gatorade Scrimmage is slated for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, also at Lions Memorial Field.
    Rolla will compete in the St. Clair Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 15.
    The Bulldogs officially begin their schedule by hosting Ozark Conference rival Lebanon Aug. 22 at Lions Memorial Field.
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