It's amazing what one week of practice can do for a team. That and a good old fashioned butt kicking. One week removed from their 0-13 loss to the Sheboygan Rebels, the Threat showed up to Indian Trails high school Saturday night with a chip on their shoulders.
Offensive co-ordiantor Danny Saldana aka "Sal" had removed himself from the sideline and switched places with loud mouth assistant Jesse Booker. He needed to be able to see the field, concentrate on making proper calls, and uncage the beast (Booker) so he could roam the sidelines and do what he does best.... yell.... a LOT. This simple switch worked WONDERS for the Threat offense. Sal no longer had to worry about the rotation of his players, the down and distance, getting the call into the QB and field questions from other players and coaches. He had to focus on ONE THING.... winning! Simple adjustments made on the fly, as well as scripted plays to attack the weakness of the defense made the transition to the booth a no brainer.
Real football fans and players know, good play calling means nothing without execution. And last week, even when the play call seemed to match the situation, the Threat just couldn't get it together. But there's a reason great teams don't focus on the past. You learn from your mistakes, you adapt and overcome. DVD copies of last week's game were burned and viewed at a rapid pace by coaches and players alike. EVERYONE wanted to know what mistakes they had made so they could correct them, and the film sessions paid off. Wednesday and Thursday practices were SOLELY FOCUSED on fixing the minor issues the Threat had the week prior to solidify their offensive attack. Blocking schemes were re-worked up front, backfields were shifted and the QB and WR's worked on timing non stop. The offense would NOT be an issue Saturday night!!
Every player who touched the field on offense had a mission.... make an impact. This is the pre-season and a lot of these fellas either don't like where they stand on the depth chart, or don't feel they belong there. There's only one way to fix that, go out and perform better than the man ahead of you. No other player took the opportunity to heart more than Jason Jones. Jones is a journeyman at RB. In his many semi pro years he's played WR, CB, Punt Gunner, Punt Returner, Kickoff Returner and probably a hand full of other positions. When he came to the Threat he didn't know where he wanted to be until this season. He decided he was going to be a full time RB. The problem with being a running back on the Threat (if you'd like to consider it a problem) is the fact that Greg Sanders and Bryan Jennings are ALSO running backs. I'm not sure if you're aware or not, but those names ring bells around the semi pro ranks. I don't need to remind most of their accomplishments, but I did need to bring them up to explain what Jones was up against.
Jones combines un-controlled speed and power with reckless abandon, a world class work ethic, and a team first mentality. He knew he wouldn't carry the ball 25, 15 even 10 times a game. He just wanted an honest opportunity to compete, and contribute. Saturday, that's what he got. Jones made the most of his opportunity, as we have encouraged EVERY player on the Threat, by taking a BROKEN stretch play (Bittner was hit on the hand off, and had to flip the ball to Jones as he was being tackled) for 45 yds after breaking 3 tackles and ALMOST beating the pursuit angle to the end zone!! He was fired up!! He wasn't done though. When backup QB Phil Gayden entered the game, Jones was winded. He came to me and said "I think I'm done man. I'm dehydrated Book." and I simply responded, "THIS is the opportunity you've been waiting for. A chance to show the team what the hell you can do when called on. You wanna come out the game??" He took a second and responded "Hell no, let me get a drink of water real quick and I'll be back out there" The next play, he took a hand off up the left sideline for a 40 yd TD and there was nobody within 10 yds of him and he sprinted into the end zone!! He finally got his shot, and his touchdown! And the beautiful thing was, Sanders and Jennings couldn't be more happy for him!!
This team has turned the page!! They finally get it!! They all need each other. 3 4th down conversions were called ON THE FIELD by the O-line and their QB. They called the plays to convert in those critical situations!! They paved the way for their running backs to dominate a scrappy Chicago defense. Their ROOKIE QB Gordy Bittner grabbed a 10 VETERAN by the face mask in the huddle and told him to get his "stuff" together so they could lead this team to victory. And after the game, they finally understood what it's going to take to be successful.... EVERYBODY!! All 53 men must make an impact when given the chance this season. Jones stepped up, who's next?
P.S. The final score was Threat 36 Chi Town Blaze 6. The defense played great too! Especially Jason Conley! LOL.
(Note from the writer.) Sometimes I get so caught up in what I'm writing, I forget that people have no clue what else happened at the game. LOL. Why not show up at our next home game and find out for yourselves!!
For more pics from Saturday's game - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150896411223233.407132.521318232&type=1¬if_t=photo_album_reply