Old-school, Power I offense is coming to Friday nights in Dadeville.
New football coach Roger McDonald wouldn’t have it any other way. McDonald said the spread offense many teams use developed out of 7-on-7 summer play but has left some athletes behind and he would change careers if it was forced on him.
“I have never liked 7-on-7; it takes the 185-pound guard out that can step out and block,” McDonald said. “If I ever have to be a 7-on-7 coach, I will quit and be greeter at Walmart.”
McDonald is bringing the old-school football to be physical between the hash marks on Fridays.
“It gives us the best chance to win; we are going to do something different,” McDonald said. “Those guys on the other side when we are on offense, they don’t like it. They want to play pass; they want to play 7-on-7. The (defensive) front, all they want to do is tee off and rush the quarterback. Well, they are going to have to play fundamental football against us to stop the run. That’s when we use our bootleg stuff, play action stuff, three-step stuff, but we are going to play football the way it was meant to be played; it’s what I’m going to do and what I believe in.”
McDonald said the Power I and fundamental football is in his blood.
“It is just the same formula we have used everywhere I’ve been,” McDonald said. “It was what I used as a player and young coach — also strength and conditioning. We are going to be physical and committed to running the football, being good on defense. It is the same formula pretty much everybody has won with.”
It’s instinctual for McDonald.
“I’m not very smart; I do the only thing I know how to do,” McDonald said. “It’s a change in philosophy scheming-wise on offense. That’s how I coach. I don’t know any other way.”
McDonald is not a fan of the quarterback being several yards behind the line of scrimmage or the Wildcat and really there is only one time a player will receive a snap behind the line of scrimmage.
“When we are punting we will be in shotgun, McDonald joked. “The good thing about this, yes we are going to be under center and we will have two tight ends in there a lot of times and there will be times we will have three backs back there, but we will base out of the I-formation.”
McDonald is confident he has the players at Dadeville to play Power I.
“People think doing what we are doing you have to be huge up front,” McDonald said. “I have not had that luxury everywhere I have been. We double team at the point of attack; we get a lot of angles; we commit to running the football and we are forcing those guys on defense to make those pass defenders come up there and play in the box and be run defenders. They don’t like that.”
Under former coach Richard White, Dadeville was in the spread for nearly the last decade and McDonald has seen a few things from the spread watching film of his team.
“The good thing about them being the spread for the last eight, nine years, we are going to keep a few of the spread concepts,” McDonald said. “It will be really to add to our two-minute offense, to utilize the fact we have a quarterback that can throw the football a little bit.”
Without spring practice, McDonald is unsure how his players will react once the hitting starts but is impressed so far with off-season workouts.
“Everything is great in workouts, flipping tires and things,” McDonald said. “When you put that helmet on and it’s a 100 degrees out there, that’s when the rubber meets the road. We are going to find out that some you think are players are not players when they put on the pads because there is nowhere to hide out there. I do feel like if they transfer what they have learned this summer, once we get in pads and get the same kind of effort, we are going to be fine. I think we will be competitive.”
Dadeville will be young and McDonald said underclassmen will have to step up for the Tigers to be successful.
“I had to look in the football program when I took over because they were out of school,” McDonald said. “I saw they only had four seniors. I said that is good and that is bad. The good thing is, these young kids will have time to learn what we are doing. We are going to have a great group of juniors. We have a great group coming up.
“You need seniors to lead but these guys are going to have to lead. These underclassmen are just going to have to fill that role.”
With nearly a decade of spread offenses, McDonald will have to teach his team the Power I.
“They don’t know what a tight end is cause they haven’t had one in the spread,” McDonald said. “I said our tight end will be down with their hand in the dirt and they are going to block. We are going to throw some bootlegs, flats and stuff to them. They won’t be spread out there wide. You are going to be down in a three-point stance.”
Junior Jordan Parker and sophomore Avontae Wilson have been picked to be tight ends. While they are having to learn about a position they’ve never played and rarely seen, they are going to give it their all. Neither has lined up for a down at tight end at practice but Wilson said he likes the new position.
“Even if I didn’t like it he was going to make me play it anyway,” Wilson said. “It’s a good offense. It’s a good scheme.”
Parker likes the idea of being part lineman and part receiver.
“(McDonald) likes contact,” Parker said. “I like contact too.”
McDonald said the community will like whatever offense is on the field as the community wants to support the Tigers but it’s harder to bring the players around to a new scheme.
“The community is excited. They want you to win,” McDonald said. “They expect you to win. You don’t have to sell the community. My hardest sell is going to be these players. The type of practices we are going to have and change of philosophy will be tough.”
Returning junior quarterback Lane Smith believes McDonald is a good fit for the Tigers and has everyone pointed in the right direction.
“He is a good motivator,” Smith said. “He has got everybody working hard this summer.”