PLYMOUTH – A casual observer would make their own conclusions about Friday’s 55-33 Plymouth loss to East Noble, but those who attended might have seen things a little differently.
“There are definitely some positives that we can take from the game last week,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “We competed at a high level. I don’t think our kids showed any quit in them whatsoever.”
“We just gave up too many points and our rush defense was very poor.”
The running game of a very talented East Noble squad had their way with the Rockie defense but there is absolutely no breathing room for the players on that side of the ball for Plymouth. Kokomo comes to town on Friday with a nearly “run at all costs” mindset.
“They are well-coached,” said Barron. “Coach (Austin) Colby is a young guy who follows his dad (Brett Colby) in that program. He’s a Kokomo kid, he’s a Kokomo grad and he understands that offense because his father ran it when he was in high school.”
“Their offense is literally from end to end not more than six yards (across),” said Barron. “I don’t even know what you call it, it’s double tight, double-wing T? There are splits (between lineman) that they call ‘foot to foot’ I think theirs are foot on top of foot. They do a lot of wedge blocking and pulling and misdirection. It’s a handful.”
The Wildkats have an abundance of weapons that make that running game even harder to defend.
“I really like their quarterback (Evan Barker), and he plays middle linebacker too,” said Barron. “He’s a big strong kid.”
“They have a running back who last year made us look like we hadn’t been coached,” said Barron. “Plez Lawrence is a handful in space. This kid is so dynamic in the open field, even when you think you have him down he’s a handful.”
While Kokomo is big on the offensive front they are not as big as they were a year ago, and definitely not as big as East Noble last week.
“Upfront they (Kokomo) kind of manhandled us a little bit last year,” said Barron. “I hope our kids realize that we just have to play better upfront so our linebackers can make plays. Even at that, they are going to move the ball. We just have to get them off the field.”
In addition to dealing with the heat during a week of practice, trying to simulate what your defense will see Friday night has also required some adaptation.
“This isn’t something that you teach a scout team in a day or two. You just can’t,” said Barron. “We’ve tried to make good reports for them through Hudl (video service). We need them engaged mentally and they have been engaged. These guys want to be good.”
“We have to get them (Kokomo) off the field,” said Barron of the game plan. “But we need to sustain some drives too.”
A solid offensive performance a week ago left the concentration of this week’s practice on the other side of the ball.
“We are going to make some changes in the lineup,” said Barron. “We are going to play our best guys on defense. I’m going to do all I can to keep (quarterback Lennon) Creighbaum healthy but everybody else is fair game to play defense.”
“We can’t allow them just to push us around upfront,” said Barron. “If we can stop that from happening I’m confident. We just want to get better in the areas we need to, which is run defense and we are playing a running team.”
“We have to play better defense. After that everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “I think our kids will give tremendous effort again this week.”