BlueCats eager to start "new season"
04/23/03 Jeff Gregory
For the first time since the season started the Evansville BlueCats are not coming off last week’s loss to face their next opponent. It is not that that they are coming off a victory, but a by week. However, this by week can be seen as a victory for the Evansville faithful. This week, the ‘Cats got healthy – or at least healthier.
Although they may not be at 100%, the offensive line got a healthful boost during the off week. Mario Wright should be ready to return to the center spot. Hanz Hoag should also be ready to go. In addition, the team has signed a number of new comers on the line that have the talent to challenge for starting roles. It is important for the line to have consistency for the offense to be able to fire on all cylinders. With blocking schemes interdependent on each other, the line needs to work together well. “You really need a lot of cohesiveness,” confirmed OL coach Tim Shipp.
Quarterback Akili Roberson should have also benefited from the by week. He has been nursing a sore ankle that has affected his mobility. With the quarterback and the line being able to answer the call, Evansville is looking forward to this week’s start of the rest of their season.
BLUECATS LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW DAY (pictured right)
One addition to the team may pay more offensive dividends. The BlueCats, according to a newspaper report, has signed former Bosse High School prep star, Mack Jacobs. Jacobs turned a lot of heads at Bosse racking up over 1500 yards and scoring 25 touchdowns as a senior running back. In addition, he won the state title at 200 meters in track.
Jacobs had everything going for him as he was preparing to play at the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. However, his football career got sidetracked, as he was not prepared scholastically for college and ended up running with the wrong crowd. A poor decision resulted in a prison sentence. Now, at 27, Jacobs is ready to return to his former football self. His game may not be what it used to be. Jacobs, however, believes that it is. The BlueCats decided to give him a chance to help turn his life around and he may return the favor by helping them turn their season around.
It is still unclear what role Jacobs is going to have with the team. The “Cats have a number of talented running backs with Levron Williams, Dale Jennings, and Casey Sellers. One solution is to move Williams to receiver or as a running back receiving out of the backfield and eventually use Jacobs as the primary carrier. Williams played wide receiver at Indiana University before returning to the Hoosier backfield. He was equally effective at both positions. In addition, Williams running style is successful mostly in wide-open situations created by end runs from pitches such as in the option-style offense. With the indoor game being rather confining, this type of offense is not as successful.
In contrast, Jacobs is a bruising back that thrives on contact. His speed and power can help him hit the hole quickly and then separate from the defense. His style will also help to keep the defense honest in two-back sets.
With these changes on the squad, the Cats anxiously anticipating this week’s game with the Myrtle Beach Stingrays at Roberts Stadium Saturday night. Myrtle Beach (1-3) is coming off a lopsided loss to NIFL powerhouse Ohio Valley 41-15. The Stingrays only victory of the young season was over Tennessee.
Myrtle Beach is led by quarterback Chris Weibel and receivers Kenneth Solomon and Lynn Rivers. Solomon leads the team with 53.7 yards per game receiving average while scoring five touchdowns. Rivers leads the club in receptions with 18 in three games.
The keys to victory for the ‘Cats will rest on the offensive line being more effective and the passing game living up to potential. BlueCat opponents have been successful blitzing, taking advantage of the shaky Evansville OL. The ‘Cats can counter by their now healthy OL and quick, correct reads by Roberson by finding the hot receiver while staring into the pressure. Also, a good ground attack will help keep the Stingrays off balance and honest.
The ‘Cats are averaging over 8,000 in attendance at Roberts so far this year. The team is looking forward to rewarding their faithful with the first of a number of victories come Saturday night.
PHOTO COURTESY EVANSVILLE BLUECATS
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