By: Jim Halley, USA TODAY High School Sports | January 5, 2017
SAN ANTONIO — All-Star games such as Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl here, are difficult for offenses. There’s just a handful of days for teams to install an offense and perfect the delicate timing needed for a successful play.
Defensive players, such as Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) safety Bubba Bolden, can simply react and hit.
“I always hit hard,” Bolden said. “I don’t take anything soft. I am going full force and coming after everybody’s head. That’s just the way I play.
“We can do easy stuff on defense. The offense knows what it’s doing and has plays designed, but the defense, we can disguise what we’re doing.”
St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) offensive lineman Wyatt Davis, who is headed to Ohio State, said the key for offenses will be to keep things simple.
“It’s pretty hard to get full understanding of the offense with the limited time we have,” Davis said. “We’ve been learning the plays and you kind of get the basics of the play. As long as we get a good push up front, there will be holes to run through.”
The lack of timing between quarterbacks and receivers might mean an easier time for dual-threat quarterbacks such as Tate Martell, an Ohio State commit from Bishop Gorman, or Tua Tagovailoa, an Alabama commit from St. Louis (Honolulu). When plays break down, they can just take off.
“It’s definitely tough,” said Valor Christian quarterback Dylan McCaffrey, a pocket passer who is headed to Michigan. “You have to adjust for every receiver’s timing.”
South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) defensive back Jeffrey Okudah said the lack of synchronicity for offenses will showcase the athleticism of the players in the game.
“It gives us an advantage, but at the same time, everybody here is a top-of-the line athlete, so there’s going to be a lot of competition going on,” he said. “I don’t know if the quarterbacks will run for it, because we’ve got the best defensive ends and linebackers in the country and they’ll run them down pretty quick.”
On that, Davis agrees.
“The speed of the game is everything,” Davis said. “I’m playing against guys who can move. That first practice, it was shocking how quickly the linebackers filled.”
2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas NV), Bubba Bolden, Dylan McCaffrey, football, Jeffrey Okudah, South Grand Prairie High School (Grand Prairie TX), St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower CA), St. Louis (Honolulu HI), Tate Martell, tua tagovailoa, Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch CO), Wyatt Davis, U.S. Army All-American Bowl