Last season, things just never quite came together for the James M. Bennett football team.
Whether it was the individual personalities or how the pieces fit together, it just wasn’t right, and that goes all the way to the spread offense the team was forced to run because of their personnel.
“I call it the chuck and duck,” Clippers coach Glenn Gibson said. “We’d either score in two plays and the defense has to go back on the field or we are three and out and the defense had to go right back on the field.”
To say that the spread offense didn’t fit Gibson’s philosophy or personality would be an understatement.
“For me, since I had been doing this since 1994 and I grew up with John Usilton and the Wing-T, four yards and a cloud of dust?” Gibson said. “Yes, it felt out of character. But you have to do what fits your players.”
He’s not afraid to try something. Five years ago, that was Navy’s offense the team ran with great success.
This year, the Clippers may have one of the biggest offensive lines in the Bayside, so there is no surprise they’ve abandoned the spread experiment to go back to an I-formation offense run in front of a zone-blocking scheme.
“Now we are going to try and play at our pace,” he said. “Slow things down. With all these other teams playing the spread, hopefully we can play benefit ball as opposed to us doing what they are doing.”
The line will be anchored by Ricardo Bravo and Luke Prunty, who also didn’t feel like last year’s offense fit well, but Gibson said the line goes at least seven deep and those guys will play on those sides of the ball.
On defense, the team will play a 4-4 so both defensive ends and both defensive tackles can rotate in and out. On offense, the same goes for the guards/center and the tackles.
“Last year one of our biggest problems on the line was communication,” Punty said. “Because of how we worked together in the offseason, we have had a lot of time and we have that down, so we won’t have communications problems like last year.”
Senior Joey Geary will play in the secondary on defense, but on offense his position is still up in the air. On Bayside Football Media Day he introduced himself as quarterback and running back.
When the Clippers face Washington on Sept. 5, he could be at either spot.
He was the backup QB last season and he feels he takes that running back’s mentality to the quarterback position, running hard on the option, but he won’t have the final call.
“I see myself wherever I can help the team, wherever I can do the most good and be the best I can be. Wherever coach puts me is where I’m going to go. I’ll play offensive line if that’s where he wants to put me.”
Gibson jokes the quarterback is only going to throw the ball eight times, so Geary should want to play running back.
But it’s pretty safe to say he won’t be on that line.
As Gibson points out “if one of them has to go run behind him, I don’t think they are going to like it.”
But regardless of where Geary lines up on opening night, it will all come down to the guys who are blocking for him.
“Our line is stronger,” Bravo said. “We have to communicate more and stick together. if we are not together, it goes bad for all of us.”
On Twitter: @ShawnYonker