Redskins will be winging it in ‘09|Roanoke offense returns to form

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sports Writer

ROBERSONVILLE – After flirtation with the shotgun formation, which was brought on by lack of personnel, the wing-T is back where it belongs in Roanoke coach Brian Paschal's playbook.
Paschal, who has championed the wing-T for quite some time, was forced to deviate from his three-back set and go with more of a spread look because of lack of depth in the running back position last season. The move was unable to bring about a winning season for the Redskins as they finished with a 4-8 record, which was good enough for second place in the Atlantic Conference.
"To be honest we had to do that; it wasn't because we wanted to. We just didn't have any backs," Paschal said. "If you don't have three backs, you can't run a three-back offense. … But we are a wing-T team and will always be a wing-T team."
Paschal said he has drawn good numbers at his practices so far this season, and feels he can pluck three good runners out of his crop of 32 players.
The Redskins rushers will be led by Dwane Morning.
"Dwane is a returning running back and a pretty good football player," Paschal said. "He is definitely able to make plays."
Roanoke will be minus two of its playmakers from last season as it lost seniors Tyreek Cooper and Johnny Sessoms.
The athletic Cooper was Paschal's starting QB last season, and now the team will look to replace him with either junior Tavin Shepherd or sophomore Reginald Parker.
"Both of them do things well, but neither one has stepped up and made that job their own," Paschal said. "Both of them have talent. We just have to help nurture them."
The competition for the top spot on the depth chart will be fierce, but it will definitely be over before the Redskins first game against North Pitt on Aug. 28.
"We will have one quarterback," Paschal said. "I'm not one of those guys that rolls two of them in. We want one to be our guy."
When Roanoke is looking to prevent points from appearing on the scoreboard, Paschal's team will be lined up in 50 front, and mix up its coverage in the secondary.
"We are going to be a 50 team," Paschal said. "With the 50 we can tie several coverages with it like cover three or cover two. We will be multiple behind the front."
With eight starters returning on defense, third year defensive coordinator William Mathews said his personnel dictated a change from the 4-4 the team used last season.
"We have some meat guys up front," Mathews said. "Every kid I got on the line right now is about 200 pounds. We are trying to control the line of scrimmage and let our skill guys do what they do."
Coming off of a disappointing season, Paschal noted that the team's goal for this year is to get incrementally better.
"Our goal is real simple, we want to be competitive and have a chance to win every game," Paschal said. "I don't know if we will do that, but I don't know if we won't. … I think that we will be competitive, but at what point we become competitive is really the question."