Cavs hoping for rebound against North Gaston
Football coaches preach on about how the biggest measuring stick to their team's success comes between week one and week two of the regular season.
If that's truly the case, East Rutherford head football coach Clint Bland said the Cavaliers may have some issues.
"We've not had a good week of practice," Bland said. "We want to see improvement and I haven't seen a lot of that this week.
"It seems like the farther we go in the season, we are going in reverse."
That may be problematic as the Cavaliers (0-1) hit the road for a three-game road swing, starting with North Gaston at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
North Gaston utilized their strong option attack to throttle Bessemer City, 42-6 in their season opener last Friday.
And, after East Rutherford gave up almost 600 yards of total offense in a 47-28 loss at home to Erwin, Bland wanted to use the week between games to iron out issues.
"We've tried to correct mistakes and there are some things we are getting better at," Bland said.
One big issue for the Cavaliers against Erwin was giving quarterback Austin Hollifield at least five seconds in the pocket to find downfield receivers. Hollifield struggled with that, managing just 10-for-22 for 70 yards passing. He made up for that with 52 yards on the ground and a 28-yard touchdown strike to Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez in the second quarter.
"We've put in a different call and we've talked about a new blocking scheme," Bland said. "They hurt us in the second half and we didn't make the adjustments."
For tonight, however, Bland said stopping the option game of North Gaston will be a task for his relatively young defense.
Not to mention the Wildcats can come back with play-action passes.
"When they run the ball eight or nine plays in a row and then they go play-action and hit the big pass … that is concerning," Bland said. "It's tough with any team that runs the option and they have done it for a while."
It is the potential for those big plays out of play-action that is the most concerning for Bland.
"They can get you with the run or the pass," Bland said. "They want to keep the ball on the ground, but if you fall asleep they will get you with the pass.
"We have to eliminate the quick scores or the big plays that can get you down."
Tonight starts the three-game road swing as Tuscola and the South Mountain Athletic Conference opener at Kings Mountain remain before the Cavaliers return to Forest City in the middle of September.
"We really had to kind of work it out," Bland said. "Look at it this way, next year we may have three home games in a row."