With a returning tailback in Benjamin and a QB with some experience in Raines, Nederland decided to switch back to its more familiar offense last season. The Bulldogs didn’t see many improvements in production, averaging an identical 26.8 points per game and losing four yards of total offense off its average, gaining 305.2 total yards per game.
This year, though, everything has come together. The Bulldogs are averaging 30.8 points per game and 319.5 yards of offense. Nederland’s point total is the second-highest its averaged in the past 10 years next to 33.7 ppg in 2004. It’s also 15 yards per game more than last season, the biggest jump in total offense from one season to the next since Nederland went from 254 yards per game in 2009 to 309 in 2010.
“We’ve had figure out what needed to be there and not overload our players,” Barrow said. “It’s not a plethora of plays we throw at them. We try to keep it simple and just run a bunch of different formations. It’s called different ways, but the line only hears it one way. The receivers only have one little piece that changes its key, but the assignment stays the same. In high school football, when you limited on the number of hours you have to work, that has to be a priority for you as a coach.”
This year, that improvement has been most apparent in the running game. Nederland is averaging over 200 rushing yards per game for the first time since 2006 and just the second time in the last 10 years.
The offense’s versatility has stemmed in large part from the offensive line. Assistant coaches Jae Stoker and David Crommett have melded their zone blocking and man blocking schemes to create a line that can do a little bit o everything.
One of the keys to all this is our lineman can block in two different ways,” Neumann said. “It was a philosophy change when we went to the spread. Now, we’ve evolved to where we can do two different philosophies with our line. We can do some of the old stuff, lining up in heavy, two tight sets. We can also zone block with the spread stuff. Our line coaches have done a great job applying those techniques to the style we have. I don’t know many people who can say their offensive lines do that.”