NEDERLAND — This year, Raines has thrown for 988 yards and 10 TDs while completing 57.6 percent of his passes. Only one QB in 20-4A has been more efficient passing than Raines and that’s LC-M’s Caleb Harley. After last season, Raines and the coaching staff identified some of his weaknesses, like pocket presence and scrambling ability. Raines worked on that relentlessly in the offseason and it has paid off handsomely.
“Last year, they preached about it a little bit, but not much,” Raines said. “This year, they’ve stressed it a bunch. I enjoy running the ball, so I’ve been pretty happy about it. Just being out there and wanting to run the ball has helped. With all of us on offense, it’s just clicks. When you want it to happen, sitting there daydreaming about it during school, it can work out.”
Barrow pointed out that Raines’ pocket presence developing is even something he can’t really coach. It’s a feel that comes from a QB maturing into his role.
“He’s gotten to where he feels the rush instead of seeing it,” Barrow said. “I don’t know if you can teach that in practice. It just comes with experience over time. You just see it start developing in games, and he’s definitely done that this year.”
One of the focuses for Raines heading into the season was for him to improve as a runner. Raines is one of the fastest players on the team, but last year, the Nederland coaching staff was still feeling the sting of the 2010 season. That’s when Nederland used four different starters at QB, and that wasn’t a place they wanted to return.
“He hasn’t shied away from pulling it down and running or taking it when we’ve called a run, which we have done more often this year,” Barrow said. “Last year, we were following the year when a quarterback went down every other week. Everyone was a little gun shy, but we talked about it and decided if we’re going to push our chips in this season, we need to have it all out there and him running is a part of that.”