tampabay.com

Out with the old

The Cougars are changing offensive schemes in hopes of nailing down a winning season.

By JARRETT GUTHRIE
Published August 25, 2006


DURANT - After last season's 3-7 finish, Durant coach Mike Gottman will look to change the Cougars' offensive strategy, switching from the Wing-T offense to a mix of the spread and I-formation.

"We are going to use a lot of shotgun and some I-formation," Gottman said. "Last year we were strictly (using) the Wing-T and that will probably be the biggest change of this program."

Gottman said the change was necessary after noticing a lack of size at tight end.

"We didn't have a dominating, blocking tight end," he said. "In the Wing-T you need a tight end who can block out a big defensive end and we didn't feel we have the personnel to do that."

THROUGH THE AIR: Gottman said he is confident in junior quarterback Jeremy Fussell. With the change to the spread offense, a focus on speed and more plays from the shotgun, Gottman said he believes Fussell will have the time and ability to make plays happen.

"He has really good hands," Gottman said. "I'm excited to see what he can do. He handles himself real well in calling the game and managing the offense."

ON THE GROUND: Matt Wacaser, who ran for 438 yards last season, will provide much of the speed for the Cougars' running attack.

"He's a tough and gritty running back," Gottman said. "But very quick."

Joining Wacaser in the backfield will be Kevin Gainer, whom Gottman said will be featured as more of a power back. Gottman said both running backs will see a lot of playing time, especially in the I-formation.

ON DEFENSE: Gottman said the Cougars are inexperienced on the defensive side of the ball, but feels the players make up for it with toughness.

"We have some good tough kids coming back," he said. "We don't really have a standout."

Most of Durant's experience is in the secondary, and Gottman said he is really working with the defensive line and linebackers.