Play Ball!

You guys remember reading this article, written by Fletcher Page for the Macon Telegraph earlier this Spring? Here’s a choice quote to refresh your memory:

“It’s more ball. Coach Martinez wanted you to play the man, the hand and basket. He (taught) that in certain techniques, but Coach Lakatos, he wants the ball. Yeah, he wants the ball.”

This was said by defensive back, Vance Cuff. Now, I know that our secondary has struggled at times, giving up big plays due to blown coverages and such but it appears that while they might not fully grasp the new defensive scheme just yet, it’s not due to the fact that the guys in the secondary weren’t listening to Coach Lakatos about playing the ball:

Notice how Cuff reads Tennessee quarterback, Matt Simms’ eyes and makes a play on the ball, tipping it into the waiting arms of Bacarri Rambo, who makes a fantastic interception.

Not to be outdone, Brandon Boykin also shows that he was listening to Coach Lakatos as he reads the quarterback’s eyes and quickly reacts to an out pass, intercepting it for the Dawgs’ first pick of the season in our opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

For our next example, Sanders Commings, who has worked himself into the starting lineup, shows that he too was paying attention during the offseason training camps. Notice how Commings reads the screen play beautifully, ignores the receiver trying to draw him up the field in coverage and instead makes an aggressive play on the ball, coming down with the interception.

And speaking of aggressive play, here’s one more quote from Fletcher’s article:

“He’s big on putting your face in and striking people. He’s a very aggressive coach. He’s about being aggressive. He’s about setting the edge, setting the tone. It isn’t about laying back. If you’re going to catch a touchdown pass on us, you’re going to pay for it. I love that about him.”

In our final example of how the guys have been paying attention, we have another interception by Sanders Commmings. This is a beautiful play and the concentration that Commings exhibits in making this over the shoulder pick is something to marvel at. But don’t marvel at it too long or you might miss the crushing blow that Shawn Williams makes after Commings’ interception, shown near the end of the video. I’ve seen him make many big hits already this season and it sure seems like Williams has taken Coach Lakatos’ instructions to heart.

We’ve still got a ways to go before the defense becomes as formidable as Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs. But the incremental improvements made by the guys in the secondary show that our defensive coaches are having success teaching. And, more importantly, the guys are showing that they are willing to listen to their coaches, learn what they’re teaching and apply these concepts on the field.

It’s coming. We’re not there yet. But we’re making our approach.

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One Response to “Play Ball!”

  1. […] made a post last season regarding the difference in mindset between Willie Martinez and Scott Lakatos on the […]

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