Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Less than one week away from Saturday’s scrimmage against Hatch at Artesia’s Bulldog Bowl, the Rams offense and defense are much further along than they were at this time last year, according to coaches.
“It’ll really be our first contact versus someone besides ourselves,” second-year Ram head coach Andy Correll said. “We really want to go in and try to be as smooth as we possibly can and eliminate mistakes.”
Correll expects the varsity to get 15 offensive plays and 15 defensive plays, followed by the junior varsity, before the varsity gets another 15 plays. The scrimmage is likely to end with goal-line work inside the 20-yard-line.
“We really just want to execute at a high level and make sure that we’re coming off the football like we’re supposed to be doing,” Correll said. “Really we want it to be as smooth as it could possibly be.”
Artesia’s field turf will also give the Rams a good idea of what they’ll face in their second game of the season on artificial turf.
“That’s going to be a good test for us,” Correll said. “We play the game at Lubbock Lowry and they have field turf as well so it will be good exposure for us and we’ll be ready for that second game of the year.”
Ram assistant coach and defensive coordinator Mark McAfee is also optimistic about where his defense is at this point in practice.
“They’re picking up the defensive scheme and the defensive philosophy a lot faster than we did this time last year,” McAfee said. “I know a lot of that has to do with the majority of these kids have gone through the program.”
“The kids are starting to pick up on it and they’re starting to cover people,” McAfee said. “Last year it was about halfway through the season before I could get them to drop to a zone and look for a guy to cover in their zone. And we’ve already started doing that with just five days of practice.”
McAfee also believes that Saturday’s scrimmage will be good for his play-calling as the defensive coordinator.
“Hatch is going to be a test,” McAfee said. “They’ve got a quarterback that’s returning that was a junior last year, and the boy is a stud. He’s going to test us. So, I think it will be good for me, because I think they’re going to exploit any of my weaknesses and that will be something we can work on for pre-district and district.”
Portales’ scrimmage against Hatch at Artesia’s Bulldog Bowl starts at 5:30 p.m.