Last year’s La Vergne football team never found consistency offensively averaging 16.6 points while giving up 29.1 points.
However, this year a new offense could breathe new life into the program. The Wolverines plan to center their new spread offense around second-year starting quarterback C.J. Fore.
La Vergne ran its offense out of an I-formation the past two years. But that changed under new offensive coordinator Aaron Tallent, a former Maryville running back.
This isn’t the first time La Vergne has taken snaps from the shotgun. La Vergne coach Stanton Stevens used the spread his first season at La Vergne. He has confidence in Fore and believes he will mesh with this year’s athletic receivers and running backs.
“It fits our personnel better,” Stevens said. “We’ve got a two-year starter at quarterback. We think he has a really good grasp of the offense. He does a pretty good job of reading defenses.
“It fits our skill, our quarterback, our lineman. We will stay balanced. Typically, if you’re running a good spread, you’re taking what they (defense) give you.”
Despite only averaging 60 plays per game in the I-Formation last season, the Wolverines are shooting for about 75 snaps a game this fall. “We will have the capability to every 13-14 seconds run a play,” Stevens said.
LaVergne returns senior receivers J.J. Horner and Quin Jernighan. The run game will rely heavily on freshman Maleik Gray and sophomore Nick Jones.
However, the offensive line will be a young one filled with underclassmen.
Defensively, the Wolverines are even younger than the offense, after graduating nine starters from last season. Graduated defensive backs Antonio Cowart and David Emmanuel combined for nine interceptions, and led a secondary that only gave up 90 yards through the air a game. Steven will be calling the 4-3 defense this year, and says the defense is better up front and should be able to stop the run.
Front and center will be 6-foot-2, 300-pound sophomore Jean Phill alongside 6-4, 250-pound senior Kelvin Welch.
“I feel better about my interior than I have in a long time. We got things to work on, but I feel really comfortable with those guys,” Stevens said of his two defensive tackles.
Although the secondary is young and inexperienced, Stevens hopes the pressure up front will be able to help the secondary with coverage.
The Wolverines have something they’ve struggled to find the last couple of years — a kicker. Soccer player Alex McMillan will be the team’s kicker this season.
“I feel good about our special teams,” Stevens said. “We should be solid in all areas, all aspects of special teams. I don’t foresee that being a problem.”