By David Coleman
The News Sports Writer
NEDERLAND – Everything old is new again.
The Nederland Bulldogs under Larry Neumann’s staff has had a formula to win games. They run the ball and play solid defense. When he started his tenure in Nederland 20 years ago, that meant running an I-formation offense with a tailback, a fullback and a tight end.
Then, as with seemingly the entire football world, things morphed into the spread about 10 years ago before coming full circle back to the I-form in the past two years. According to Neumann, that’s more about adjusting the offense to the personnel rather than any grand changes in philosophy.
“Here, we’ve always been driven by personnel,” Neumann said. “We’ll always be driven by personnel. That can change drastically, even from week to week. Sometimes, we get a heads-up on it, but sometimes, we just have to roll with it. We’re going to try and give our personnel their greatest chance for success. We’re going to apply what we know to make that happen. That’s what drives it.”
Two years ago, in its last year in the spread, Nederland averaged 26.8 points per game on offense. Under the direction of quarterback Dionte Forney, the Bulldogs gained 2,00 0 yards rushing (182 per game) and 1,401 passing (127 per game).
Troy Benjamin gained 875 rushing yards while Trevin Sonnier rushed for 15 TDs. Forney completed 52.8 percent of his passes for 823 yards with six TDs and six INTs.
Then-sophomore Carson Raines started a handful of games that season, throwing for 367 yards and two TDs while tying Forney with six INTs. Having experience running both offenses has really helped the Nederland offense this year.
“He’s experienced both,” Nederland offensive coordinator Monte Barrow said. “Carson is the kind of athlete you can put the spread in for. We dabbled in it before Ryan Sampere came in here. He was a lot like Carson in that he threw from the run maybe better than he could from the pocket.”