Pack’s new look offense takes center stage

Published 9:01 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

Washington coach Sport Sawyer

They say practice makes perfect but right now Washington head coach Sport Sawyer is looking for a perfect practice. Fielding a young offense that returns only a handful of starters from its 5-7 team of year ago, Pam Pack practices will take on extra meaning this season as the unit tries to transition from an I-formation offense to a spread attack.
“It’s all going to start in practice,” Sawyer said, who is entering his eighth year at the helm for the Pack. “We have to be a better practice team. Our practices have got to be better. I feel like if our guys take practice more serious and get after it a little bit more we’ll be ok this year. If we don’t, it could be a long year.”
How short or long this season might be will ride on the shoulders of junior quarterback Jimmy Williams. A solid athlete, Williams showed flashes of potential running Sawyer’s I offense last season. This season, the Washington coach is looking to fully take advantage of his dual-threat QB with his new offense.
“Jimmy from last year to now has really worked hard in the offseason and in the weight room and on his throwing. He has a lot more confidence and it’s showing,” Sawyer said. “Our offensive strength is going to be Jimmy’s ability to make plays on the run while passing and also his ability to read the defense.”
Though they will line up in the pistol and other spread formations, Sawyer said he still seeks a good mixture of run and pass.
“We want to see what a defense gives us and what they are trying to take away and attack where their weaknesses are,” Sawyer said. “In this offense I feel like we can run some and we can pass some. Hopefully, we can do both every game but if something is struggling we hope the other can pick us up.”
Helping protect Williams and open holes for the backs is a sturdy line that returns starting LT Jordan Anthony, RT Jordan King and C Dylan Cutler.
“The offensive line has a lot of experience from last year, they work hard in the weight room,” Sawyer said. “They’re not a big group, but they work extremely hard and they have been thrown in the fire and we look for the them to lead the way this year.”
The spread attack will feature three to four receivers at a time and will be lead by returning starting wideout Keane Graham.
“I feel pretty good about our receiving corps,” Sawyer said. “We’re not looking to throw the ball 50 times a game, we want to run and pass, but I think we got good guys like Jack Rodman, D.J. Bell, Stephan Moore and Keane.”
One position that is still up in there air is at running back, where Washington must replace WDN all-area first teamer William Ellegor, who was the heart and soul of the Pack attack in 2010.
“Running back is a question right now,” Sawyer said. “We have some guys fighting for it but we’re still not settled there.”
At the end of the day for Washington, it all comes down to how hard it works Monday through Thursday.
“It really feel like we have some athletic ability,” Sawyer said. “But again, it’s all on how we practice. That’s where I have to do a better job of coaching and getting our players and coaches up during the week, 5-7 is not going to cut it. I’m putting the pressure on the players and I’m putting the pressure on the coaches and myself to be better.”