By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Entering his third year as head coach of Portales Ram football, Andy Correll has his most experienced squad, all of whom are ready to out-do last year’s squad that advanced to the New Mexico Class 3A quarterfinals, but lost on the road to Raton.
Taking snaps under center will be senior quarterback Michael Trujillo, who spent the last two years watching Chris Mosier lead the Ram offense.
But Correll says Trujillo has the arm and the running abilities to give the Ram offense more depth.
“He’s got a very strong arm, he’s always a deep threat. He’s very accurate,” Correll said. “That’s what I’ve been surprised about is just how accurate he can be — both on the run and in the pocket.”
Correll said the Rams offense will improve on last year’s timed routes and passes offense. He also said it will resemble the new air-it-out throwing offense of the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds.
“We’re still going to look very similar to what we were last year for sure,” Correll said. “This year we’re going to be throwing it quite a bit more than in the last couple of years.”
To illustrate his point, Correll pointed out that in last week’s scrimmage against Hatch, the Rams ran the ball eight times out of their 28 total offensive snaps.
“That’s one of our main reasons we’re adding these passes. (Michael’s) got a great throwing arm,” Correll said. “He throws a pretty good ball. He’s also got great feet, so he’s a double threat.”
In addition to a more wide open approach, the Rams will also be running a speed option.
“We didn’t have it in last week, we put it in this week,” Correll said. “It’s just another level of our running game that we wanted to get in.”
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Mark McAfee returns to lead a defense that has ranked near the top of New Mexico Class 3A football for the last several years.
“We’ve got a whole lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball. McAfee said. “We’re not read-reacting anymore. What we’re looking at doing is going and getting the offense.”
The Rams begin their 2008 season at Robinson High School on Friday. Earlier this month, the Cardinals were rocked with hazing accusations that resulted in the suspension of the entire coaching staff, as well as six players.
“They’re still playing football at Las Vegas-Robertson,” Correll said. “This is still Las Vegas-Robertson. They’ve been to the state championship game the last three years, and that’s who we want to play.”