Jemison tries new offense

Published 9:13 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

By Stephen Dawkins

The Jemison football team that took the field for a spring jamboree Friday may have looked familiar.
When the Panthers lined up and ran a play, though, fans may have been left scratching their heads.
Jemison lost only five players combined to graduation, but coach Brad Abbott tested his team’s maturity by using the event as an opportunity to experiment.
The Panthers unveiled a new offense, a more traditional I-formation look compared to the shotgun spread they ran last season.
Jemison running back Javae Swindle, a rising junior, was the team’s primary offensive weapon a year ago—and rising senior Isa Bentley was a productive second option. The I is more conducive to a rush-heavy attack than the spread, which requires a back line up on either side of the QB, dictating which side of the field the play will go toward.
Bentley and Swindle found plenty of rushing lanes Friday in an 18-8 win over Central-Coosa in what amounted to a half of football.
Maplesville defeated Central 22-0 and led Jemison at press time, 14-6, with 7 minutes left in the first quarter.
Abbott also said players had trouble processing the play call, which comes from the sideline without a huddle, and then players are required to look up their responsibility on a card strapped around their wrists.
“I just felt like it was time to get away from that,” Abbott said. “We decided we would use this as a chance to look at [the offense running the I]. If it doesn’t work, we’ve been running the spread for five or six years, so we could change back if we needed to.”
The change could also benefit Scott Clements, the returning starter at quarterback.
“With the shotgun, he has to take his eyes off the secondary for a few seconds to take the snap,” Abbott said. “When he’s under center, he doesn’t have to do that.