By TONY EIERDAM
If one word could be used to describe today’s game between the Mineral Wells Rams and Glen Rose Tigers it would be “urgency.”
The Rams and Tigers will square off at 7:30 p.m. today at Glen Rose in a non-district contest.
Both teams come into today’s game at 0-2 as each will be seeking that first win in 2013.
Glen Rose fell to Carrollton Ranchview (20-14) in the season opener and last week suffered a 40-21 defeat to China Spring.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said his team has taken the correct steps to putting the past behind them and focusing on the job ahead.
“We told them immediately after the (Hirschi) game that the game was over, and we just move on from here right now,” Lawrence said. “It started with a good Saturday morning practice which was followed by a good Monday practice.
“Sometimes Monday practices do not go smoothly simply because you are putting in everything in the game plan and it is a lot of information to process in a short time.
“As a result, a lot of times Monday practices can be a little sloppy. But the guys had an above-average practice which is a good sign.
“These kids are resilient kids, and they are working hard to improve. We have made some adjustments, and we have installed some new things in the game plan.
“Both of these programs in the last few years have won some games,” Lawrence continued, “and both are not used to being 0-2. This game should be a heck of a struggle for two teams trying to get that first victory. Both teams will be playing with urgency.
“But the bottom line for us and Glen Rose is district doesn’t start now, and everything both teams are doing is designed to be prepared for district play. In our case, it is when Castleberry comes here (Oct. 11).”
Lawrence also encouraged his non-starters to step it up as he emphasized that every player was important to the outcome of every game.
“An area we have emphasized this week was our effort on the scout team and the look that they give,” Lawrence said. “The better the picture the scout team gives us in practice the better you will perform on Friday night.”
Glen Rose uses multiple formations on offense and has used two quarterbacks – juniors Colton Lane and Hayden Holder – in its two previous games.
But Lane has played most of the time at QB as he has completed 30 of 50 passes for 257 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
The Tigers leading rusher is Holder, who has gained 58 yards on 11 carries. Carlin Linnaberry is second on the team in rushing with nine carries for 48 yards.
“They move Holder all over the field,” Lawrence explained. “He can play quarterback, tailback, slot receiver. They get in doubles and trips, and they put him at sniffer, which is kind of like a fullback lined up behind and between the guard and tackle.
“They also like to run the counter and a little bit of option, and they throw the ball well. They are well coached and have a good scheme.
“To be successful against them we will have to recognize their formations, and we will have to have sure tackling. We have to make sure we don’t give up the big plays like we did last week.”
Defensively, the Tigers base out of a 3-2 defense and are led by linebacker Senovio Delgarza, who has 21 tackles, including 13 solo stops.
“They will also get into a 4-1 or a 4-2, and again, they are well coached,” Lawrence said. “They have a very good linebacker, and they move to the ball well.
“We will have to execute our offense efficiently and properly to combat what they do well.”
Lawrence also feels special teams could have a huge impact on the outcome of the game, Last week, talented and speedy Cedric Battle returned two punts for touchdowns against the Rams.
“I feel sometimes the effort hasn’t been there on special teams,” he said. “Now, these guys because of our depth are starting on offense or defense or both and are also playing special teams, but they have to stay focused, especially on coverage teams.
“We have also missed some blocks on our return teams. There has to be more of a sense of urgency, and we are trying to get that going in practice.
“We want to let these guys know that special teams represent one-third of a ball game. We can’t emphasize enough how important special teams are.
“It’s all mental. These guys are in superb physical condition, and playing special teams is a mental thing. Overall, we are pleased with the special teams, but not extremely pleased.
“But there is room for improvement, and we have to get better in this area if we want to do anything in district.”