• July 29, 2014

Whitt & Wisdom: Dawgs don’t diversify

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Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 4:42 pm, Tue May 28, 2013.

Jack Welch tried to diversify his offense.

It did not work.

Copperas Cove’s head coach planned to use his quarterback’s arm to balance the attack. He wanted his passing game to deliver consistently enough to keep the defense honest.

The Bulldawgs — a traditionally run-oriented program — intended to display an added offensive dimension in the season opener at A&M Consolidated, but by the end of the first quarter, Welch abandoned the idea.

He felt he had no choice.

A&M Consolidated refused to get beat through the air, and Welch refused to force the issue.

In the first quarter, the Bulldawgs ran 18 plays, excluding punts, and seven were passes. In the span, starting quarterback Robbie Seybold produced three completions and was sacked twice, causing Copperas Cove to quickly disregard its original approach.

The Bulldawgs attempted just 14 passes during the duration of its 31-20 loss with only three occurring after halftime.

In addition to losing the game, they also lost an opportunity for their first-year quarterback to gain valuable in-game repetitions. It is a decision that could haunt Copperas Cove once it begins playing against versatile District

8-5A defenses.

Instead of insisting on opening a new chapter in his playbook, Welch, who continually says his team lacks a standout player, returned to a comfortable methodology by finding himself a go-to rusher.

Welch’s decision to quickly revert to the philosophy responsible for so much of his success was not surprising, but his selection to take the reigns was.

After accounting for 559 rushing yards and five touchdowns during his junior season, Chans Colbert appeared poised to inherit the majority of Copperas Cove’s backfield workload, but he is still waiting. The running back finished with just six carries, while junior Vondareaz King received 22 of the team’s 42 rushing attempts.

Displaying the intuitiveness to find holes, power to break tackles and speed to get to the outside and turn upfield, King finished with a game-high 250 yards, highlighted by eight runs of 10 yards or longer, including a 61-yard touchdown.

Colbert, on the other hand, carried the ball just twice in the first half, but received a goal-line carry in the fourth quarter, scoring the final points of the game on a one-yard touchdown run.

The production proves the decision to ride King was the correct one, but the question of why Welch neglected Colbert in favor of King remains. The coach insists the decision is a reflection of him favoring plays, not players.

“It is just a matter of which plays are working and running those plays,” Welch said. “It just so happened they were Vondareaz’s plays, but if Chans’ plays would have been working, that would have been what we’d gone with.”

The same logic fueled Welch’s decision to abort his initial game plan. He simply did not believe the passing game would pay dividends against A&M Consolidated.

So, like Colbert, Seybold and, to a lesser degree, backup quarterback Nick Deprisco – all of whom are entering the season with extremely limited varsity experience – received very few chances to contribute and mature on the field.

The attempt to develop a passing persona eluded Welch in the opener, and it would be hard to argue against returning to his old run-heavy ways, but if the Bulldawgs are truly committed to diversifying their offense, they just lost a valuable opportunity.

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