Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

SPORTS >> Red Devils needing little things for win

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports writer

The Jacksonville Red Devils will try to rebound from their conference-opening loss to Mountain Home last week when they travel to Jonesboro to take on the also 0-1 Hurricane.

The 13-7 loss to the Bombers was the second consecutive lackluster performance from a Red Devil offense that showed signs of explosiveness in the first two weeks of the season.

Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley believes the defense, which was supposed to be the weakness heading into the season, is playing well right now, while the offense is sputtering.

“ Defensively, we’re playing well enough to win,” Whatley said. “ Offensively we’re not. We’re not consistent. We’ve got people playing like heck when the ball is in their hands, and when it’s not, we’re not carrying out our assignments. Until we do that, we’re not going to move the football. We’re not doing the little things that get you wins. We have to learn the little things are big.”
Jonesboro is also struggling through the early part of the season.

After beating Camden Fair-view 27-25 in the season opener, the Hurricane have lost 28-0 to Wynne, downed a bad Poplar Bluff team, then lost 14-9 to Forrest City last week in their league opener.
Despite the less-than-stellar showing so far, Whatley says there is plenty to be concerned about with Jonesboro.

“Jonesboro is Jonesboro,” Whatley said.
“They’re big, they’re very physical like always. They’ve got two quarterbacks that they’re using, and they’re both very athletic and do the things they do very well. They’re going to try to spread you out, and they’re going to try to pound it at you. It’s pretty basic football.”
Whatley believes the Jones-boro defense gives his offense something to work with, he just needs his offense to take it.

“On defense they’re not going to let you behind ‘em, which is why it’d be nice to throw it underneath a little bit,” Whatley said.

The head Red Devil didn’t say his quarterback is ignoring the short pass patterns in his complex offense.
“We’re just not there yet,” Whatley said. “But hey, we’re going to practice this week and work on that, just like we’ll work on a lot of things we didn’t do well. We’re going to get better.”