Titans unveil faster defense

Published 9:38 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2016

By I.C. Murrell
Panama City (Fla.) Bay established a fast pace on offense. Port Arthur Memorial played faster on defense.
Just the way defensive coordinator Cody Haug likes it.
“Their offense was moving so fast, we were making great adjustments on the sidelines between each series,” he said. “The coaches were coaching their butts off. It was really good just to see everybody work together like that. It made my job easy.”
Memorial’s speed paid off. The Titans’ quick adjustments helped them to slow down a potent offense that had gotten into the red zone twice and limit them to two field goals. They also forced a lost fumble in an 18-6 win shortened by inclement weather before halftime.
“They play together as a unit,” Haug said. “We got in a hole early, and we didn’t flinch. It didn’t seem to bother them. We overcame some adverse situations. They got into the red zone a couple of times, and we held them to field goals.”
For Haug, it was a successful second debut as the Titans’ defensive coordinator. The well-traveled coach held the role during the 2013 season, when Memorial reached the second round of the 5A (now 6A) Division II playoffs.
The Titans’ “aggressive, multiple” 3-4 defense, as Haug likes to call it, is taking shape quickly, so to speak. They play with the philosophy of reducing as much space as possible for every defender to make a play.
“A lot of the credit goes to, No. 1, how hard our kids have been working,” Haug said. “The effort they put into the spring and summer workouts to get bigger, faster, stronger was absolutely incredible. That all goes back to [head coach] Kenny Harrison and how he runs his program and how his program is so structurally organized.”
Memorial was already blessed with speed throughout its entire roster, especially at the corners with seniors Kary Vincent Jr. and De’Andre Angelle. Both also spent time as wide receivers.
“We’re just fortunate that we can come around a time when we have some guys on that side of the ball who can move around a bit,” Harrison said. “It just so happened when we sat down and did the personnel, we were fortunate to have speed at all three levels. On the defensive front, we’ve got some athletes up there as well as the linebacker position. Then, you round that off with the secondary with Kary Vincent and De’Andre Angelle. That alone puts a ton of speed on the field.”
Vincent and Angelle are standouts in track and field, where Vincent, an LSU football commit, is the 6A 200-meter state champion.
“Some of our kids just have some God-given talent,” Haug said. “My staff is outstanding. I do a whole lot of nothing, to be honest with you. The position coaches do a pretty outstanding job coaching their positions and installing the system as we have it. Really, I’m just kind of a figurehead, to be honest with you.”
It’s hard to tell Haug hasn’t had any effect in his return to Port Arthur.
A former assistant strength coach at Texas A&M in the 1990s, Haug has spent 18 years coaching on the high school level, including stops at McKinney, Klein, Spring, John Tyler and Katy Morton Ranch. But he’s always enjoyed what he considers a fun enviroment at Memorial.
“I’ve been in all these programs. I’ve worked with some good coaches. This, by far, leaps and bounds, is one of the most disciplined programs I’ve been in,” Haug said of Memorial. “Our kids are yes-sir, no-sir kids. It is fun coaching these kids in Port Arthur. They like to win and this town likes to win. That’s what I really enjoy about it.”
I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.