Longview working hard on cutting out turnovers
By Jimmy Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 4, 2012 at 10 p.m.
Longview's quarterbacks and centers still spend eight minutes early in each practice working on snapping the ball.
The Lobo coaching staff added a twist to the routine this week, though.
The change came just days after four fumbled snaps led to two turnovers and were part of a nine-fumble, five-turnover performance in a 33-7 loss at Mesquite.
Centers are now required to perform the drill in a chute or carry out a block on a tackling sled after snapping the ball, added steps implemented in an attempt to curb the botched snaps.
"We've tried to get a different way to work the drill to just try to make it more game-like," Longview coach John King said. "We're just trying to find a different way to emphasize the drill and not make it monotonous where they just go through the motions.
"We're just trying to find a different way to skin a cat."
That might not be the only wrinkle for the offense as it tries to muster production.
Senior receiver Justinn Spady has provided an added dimension to the offense the last two games, throwing a deep pass off a reverse in both games. He hit Cedric King in stride for a 39-yard touchdown against Lufkin and almost found tight end Colin Jeter for a big gain late in the first half against Mesquite.
Spady, who played quarterback in middle school, hasn't taken reps at the position in practice, though King said the idea has been thought of in the past. King wouldn't rule out the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder taking snaps out of the Wildcat, though.
"We'll have some things," King said. "Not just him. Different players on the team. We're going to get a plan together and use some diversity there to do whatever we can to get the ball in some playmakers' hands."
Any changes would come after a game when the Lobos mustered a season-low 168 yards of total offense.
Sophomore quarterback Dezmond Chumley fumbled three snaps Friday in his first varsity start, including one shotgun snap. He lost two lost fumbles in the first half that led to 10 Skeeters points as they raced to a 23-0 halftime lead en route to the rout.
Junior Stephon Dunn dropped one snap, but recovered it.
"It's definitely frustrating to everyone with the amount of fumbles we had against Mesquite," King said. "I've never been a part of something like that."
Turnovers have plagued Longview (3-2) early in both its losses this season.
Coppell took advantage of three early takeaways in a 41-8 win in the season opener. Thanks to the five turnovers, Mesquite's average starting field position in the first half was the Longview 45-yard line.
King replaced Chumley with Dunn for the final three series of the first half and the first series of the second, but brought back the 6-foot, 170-pounder for the final four series of the game.
"I just felt like we needed to put him back in the game," King said. "We were just ineffective the whole night. I didn't need him to go into shock on me or lose all his confidence. It was a tough night and I felt like he needed the opportunity to settle down."
Chumley threw the ball on Friday, completing 8 of 12 passes for 66 yards. He nearly threw a long touchdown pass to Jeter late in the game, but the ball slipped through Jeter's hands.
"He did some good things," King said. "He was making mistakes, too, but that's part of being a sophomore. That's enhanced by being a quarterback. Everyone's eyes are on him. A lot of times all the blame goes on him when that's not necessarily the case."
(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter @jicartersports)