George Rogers Clark football coach Steven Collins keeps waiting for his team to break their old habits and experience a breakthrough.
More than a month into his tenure as coach of the Cardinals, Collins wants his team to get out of the “insanity” mode starting with Friday night’s contest against Scott County at Cardinal Stadium.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he said. “We’ve got to change things and when we do things, not go back to old habits. We’re very scheme-oriented when it comes to defense and offense and we’ve got certain ways we have to do things, and if we don’t follow those rules, sometimes it puts you in a bind. The kids know what I am talking about, we’ve just got to quit making the same mistakes. A¿lot of it we have corrected, but a lot of it is just old habits.”
The Cardinals surrendered a season-high 570 yards in a 53-36 loss at Henry Clay last week, but most of that yardage was attained by Blue Devils’ running back Elijah Bell. The junior running back finished with 369 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard score in the second half. Bell also crossed the goal line with a 64-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the first quarter.
Collins compared Bell to former Clark standout Pokey Harris, now at Murray State.
“What can you say? That Bell kid is a special talent,”¿Collins said. “He is like Pokey was for us last year, at any moment, he could go to the house. When he wasn’t in the game, you could tell. Seems like every time he wasn’t in the game, they punted. He made a difference.”
The Clark coach added that his team’s problems on the defensive end aren’t because of the scheme and singles out fundamentals as the main reason for his team’s woes on the defensive side of the ball.
“It’s tackling,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of that in practice and we’ve got to emphasize it. On offense, it’s blocking and on defense, it’s tackling. We’ve just got to do better.”
Although Clark’s defense had a hard time keeping up with Bell last week, the offensive unit amassed 390 total yards, led by Darian Skinner and C.D. Sight, who combined for 285 yards and four of Clark’s five touchdowns. Clark, which uses a triple-option scheme, used its own version of a “Wildcat” package, allowing Skinner to operate out of a shotgun formation.
“We just opened it up a little bit and the kids responded well,” Collins said. “We were able to use our perimeter speed a little bit more. We put the tight end in there to give us an extra blocker on the edge, so we could take advantage of some things Henry Clay kept wanting us to do. It worked out for us. We were able to do some things on first down, which made (things) easier when it’s second and short and medium, compared to second and long and third and long.”
Collins plans to keep using the scheme as the season progresses.
“We’re going to expand a little bit more this week,” he said. “The kids have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing and we’re going to stick with what we’re doing right now.”
Scott County, ranked No. 3 behind Louisville Trinity and St. Xavier in the week’s Associated Press Class 6A poll, is off to a 4-1 start and coming off a 71-13 rout of Tates Creek last week.
The team’s only setback was a 60-37 loss to Highlands during the second week of the season and rebounded from the setback with a three-game winning streak. The third-ranked Cardinals are averaging 51.5 points per game going into Friday night’s contest at Cardinal Stadium.
“They’re going to run the Wing-T¿on offense and on defense, they’re multiple,” Collins said. “It will definitely be a challenge for us and another benchmark test to see how we’ve progressed this week. These first four games, they’ve been thrown the gauntlet, but our kids have responded well. Their attitude is great, they know that the wins are going to come and they’re confident in that and what we’re doing.
“We the coaching staff believe in them 100 percent and we’re going to get this thing going in the right direction.”
Scott County at GRCHS
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Clark 0-4, Scott County 4-1
Last week: Henry Clay 53, Clark 36; Scott County 71, Tates Creek 13
Last meeting: 2011 — Scott County 48, Clark 6
Radio: 107.7 FM¿WKYN